2004-10-28 / Arts & Entertainment

Ask BETTY

Dear Betty,

I’d like to cut back on carbs, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help?

Puyallap, Wash.

Counting carbs is all the rage, but we still don’t know the long-term effects of a low-carb diet on weight or overall health. People on a restrictive low-carb diet can miss out on fiber and important vitamins and minerals. What we do know is that cutting carbs, which make up a big part of our diet, often cuts calories.

And calories do count! The key to a successful weight-loss diet is to burn up more calories than you take in. So even if you’re cutting carbs, you should get moving, too.

If you do decide to cut back on carbs, here are a few tips to get you started:

• Make the carbs that you do eat count, so choose whole-grain cereals and breads, and substitute one-half of the white flour with whole-wheat flour when baking.

• Most veggies have fewer carbs than fruit, so try to eat more vegetables. The best route is to eat five servings of veggies or fruit a day.

• Eat two to three servings of lean meat, poultry or fish a day. Aim for at least two or three servings of fish, in-cluding salmon and tuna, which are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

• Don’t forget dairy products — they’re loaded with nutrients and taste great, but choose low-fat options when picking up milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese.

• Choose fruit rather than high-fat or high-calorie desserts. Other healthy lower carb snacks include nuts, veggies sticks and low-fat ranch dressing, reduced-sugar yogurt, peanut butter and celery sticks and part-skim string cheese.

• When you eat carbs such as ba-gels, bread or baked potatoes, use lower fat toppings — low-fat cream cheese and low-fat sour cream.

• Cut back on soda pop, fruit drinks and candy. Their calories can add up quickly.

Betty Crocker

Want more ideas? www.BettyCrocker.com

Questions? 1-888-ASK BETTY

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