My wife and I picked a difficult Lent fast: giving up foods full of junk carbohydrates.
Junk carbohydrates are a feature of foods with disproportionately more carbohydrate content than other healthful substances. Example junk carbs include simple carbohydrates (enriched/white flour, white and brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, et al), fruit juices, and white potatoes. Disallowed foods include:
- Almost all bread products
- White rice
- Virtually all snack foods or desserts
- Fruit juices
- French fries
- Most barbecue sauces, many of which I call “meat syrup” because of their vile sweetness. (Do you like maple syrup on your bacon? Why put equally sugary junk on roasts? Yuck!)
- And many others.
Foods with junk carbohydrates only as accents are OK. Generally, I want to see the junk carbs follow behind an ingredient that I intuitively know is sparsely used in the food. Examples are a sauce thickened with a little flour, 85% dark chocolate in moderation, or salted peanuts that have a little corn syrup. Even Nature’s Own Double Fiber Wheat is OK in moderation: it has more wheat gluten (4th ingredient) than white flour (5th ingredient)!
Even though junk carbohydrates are counterproductive in a human diet, it is hard to give them up! You don’t know how addicted you are to them until they are out of your diet.