What are BEIGE carbs and WHY are they bad for you?

Adele Stickland Adele Stickland

This blog will explore the recent discussion on the BBC about beige and green carbs and the effect that they have on your digestion of carbohydrates. Plus the effect of carbs on different body types and which body types can eat more carbs.  Then this blog will outline how you can test your own personal carbohydrate tolerance and how you can improve your ability to metabolise and use carbs.

Carbs are a cheap form of food but how good are they for you?

Carbs are easy to cook and when you are in a hurry they make a FAST meal. Who hasn’t bought fresh pasta from Sainsbury’s and felt that they were being ‘healthy’ and nutritious? There is a whole generation of kids that have been brought up on ‘pasta and pot shots’. There is no doubting that pasta is a super quick and a very cheap meal. But is that meal nutritious? Or is it, in fact, damaging your health?

What is the value to your body of consuming these quick easy pasta meals?  ZERO! But are all carbs equal?  Do they all contain the same properties?

Let’s break it down into the 3 types of carbohydrates:

  1. Starch – beige
  2. Sugar – white
  3. Fibre – green

Beige & White Carbs

Starch is what we usually understand carbs to mean and include foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice.  These “beige” varieties of carbs are not good for you. And neither is “white” carbs which are found in sugary foods such as fizzy drinks, sweets, processed and refined foods including manufactured cakes and biscuits. Most of the starch and sugar in these beige and white carbs are broken down into glucose for energy, and if you eat too much, the glucose is stored as fat.

Previously the media and even scientific reporting have had you worried us that if you are not eating carbs then you won’t have energy. Carbs give you energy that Gym Bunnies used to chant and yet the results found in the BBC programme was startling (but not all that surprising if you have been reading my blogs for a while 😉

Green Carbs

What is a ‘green carb’ no it isn’t an ethically motivated, good to the environment tree hugger? Although that would be a good description.

What is a beige carb? Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

Green carbs are simply your vegetables. Let’s make that point very clear, vegetables are carbs.

Vegetables keep you full and slow down stomach emptying, plus they supply you with vitamins and minerals that are only found in plants called phytonutrients.

Veg is good for your teeth and gums and good for your guts, keeping everything moving and feeding your gut bacteria.

Don’t miss my blog: What are probiotics and prebiotics and why you shouldn’t buy YOGHURT DRINKS

Resistant starch is found in high-fibre foods such as lentils, beans and unprocessed whole grains – is also hard to digest in a good way: it gets right down into your lower digestive tract (your colon) where its main job is not to feed you but rather to feed your gut bacteria.

Healthy gut bacteria are linked to a wide range of benefits, both physical and mental and a lack of gut bacteria has been found to lead to obesity and other health issues.

Don’t miss my blog: Is not Enough Gut Bacteria Making you Fat?

A tip from the BBC programme: “The Truth About Carbs”  found that reheating MAY turn bad carbs into good – if you reheat starches like pasta or toasted bread from the freezer, the molecules reconfigure themselves and become more resistant, allowing them to travel further in your gut and feed your microbiome.

Personally I am not convinced, it feels like a spurious link and it overcomplicates a simple message.

To clarify:

If you are eating lots of vegetables then you are not on a low carb diet. And the results from the programme speak for themselves:


  • Reducing carbs meant that the patients weren’t feeling hungry
  • Their measurements had dropped
  • Type 2 Diabetes reversed after 2 weeks (although the patient had it for 17 years!)
  • six out of seven  patients had lost half a stone or more within 2 weeks (reference: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44368601)

How do you decide if you are carb tolerant? There are two ways of discovering your tolerance to carbohydrates

  1. The Cracker Test
  2. Analysis of your body type

Cracker test findings on your how much Carbs you can tolerate

The recent BBC programme ‘The Truth about Carbs’ tested this with their ‘Cracker test’.  If the respondent could detect a change in their taste of the flavour when consuming a cracker.

The report advised that these body types that could tolerate carbs because they had a higher amount of amylase enzyme in their mouth. Amylase is a digestive enzyme and the more of this enzyme that your body has then the more likely you are able to digest carbs.

Those enzymes are breaking down the sugar molecules into smaller ones. Amylase begins the digestion of starch, although it is rendered inactive as it reaches the acidic environment of your stomach.

Amylases in your saliva help to break down the carbohydrates into smaller chunks, but can only help with about 20% food carbohydrate breakdown. Ths percentage is dependent on the time food spends in your mouth. So the less you chew, the faster you swallow and the less salivary amylase has a chance to work on your food.

Therefore slow down whilst eating your food.

3 Cracker’ test results

  1. if you can detect a change in the taste of the cracker within 30 seconds then you are more likely to tolerate carbs.
  2. If you eat the cracker and there is a much slower taste change then that suggests that you can’t tolerate carbs as much and you should watch your intake
  3. No change at all that means you have a low concentrate of amylase in your mouth and that suggests that you might struggle eating carbs

To summarise, if you can taste a change within 30 seconds of chewing that means you were able to eat more carbs without any problems.

Body Type and your ability to tolerate Carbs.

Nutritionists and Personal Trainers have always know that your body type will affect the way you process your food. Simply put you could view this difference as metabolic rate. It is very easy and straightforward to recognise once you ‘know’ what to recognise in your own body. There are 3 distinct body types and I have said this before but it is still amusing they are all related to Morph!

A mesomorph is a strong ‘cross fit’ or Serena Williams body type, strong, athletic, they will be able to tolerate a reasonable amount of carbs.

A mesomorph is a strong ‘cross fit’ or Serena Williams body type, strong, athletic, they will be able to tolerate a reasonable amount of carbs.

An ectomorph is the round body type, those that put on weight easily won’t be able to tolerate pasta or beige foods.

An endomorph is a lean ‘can eat whatever they want’ body type. I always think of Mo Farah, and surprisingly they can tolerate carbs.

Your invitation….

I am not simply passionate about helping girls realise their funky, sexiness and step into their gorgeous selves. I am obsessional!  I have gorgeous OCD. I think the reason that I am so obsessional about health for women is that I know that everyone can have it. Nutritional advice is over complicated, mindset shifts can be daunting but not if have support and friendship. I invite you to capitalise on my OCD tendencies to your benefit

Over to you….

Take your first steps and find the time to put yourself first and explore how you can listen to your body more and observe your perfectionist tendencies with me. Book sometime out for yourself click here

Here is a quick video I put together for those who are joining me to chat, it explains exactly what you and I will chat about

let’s chat

I am looking forward to speaking with you.

Get Gorgeous is a journey together – yours and mine.

Find out what other gorgeous girls have to say…

What a fantastic holiday on the Pilates Retreat in Malaga in May. I thought that I would take a week to come back down to earth before posting a review to reflect on the week and what a positive and beneficial impact it has had on my own health and well being plus the absolutely marvellous, inspirational and supportive Adele and Katie that led and organised the retreat.

The other companions who attended the retreat were so interesting with everyone being there for their own reason. That is why the retreat was brilliant as there was freedom and flexibility in what you wanted to do as we all needed to get different outcomes from the retreat. Putting 13 relative strangers together was expertly managed by Adele and it was a totally 100% positive vibe amongst the group. There were so many laughs around the pool, dining room table and whilst doing pilates as some of the proposed positions to get into where largely only achieved by Adele but my goodness did we have fun trying!

The food was superb, fresh fish, fresh vegetables and fruit expertly prepared by Katie 3 times a day with fresh eggs from the chickens who lived at the side of the house. Katie was such an adorable positive complement to Adele – you would think they were sisters as they both sparked off each other which made the whole holiday so brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble – you don’t get that even at a 5 star hotel but they both did with enormous smiles on their faces. The accommodation was out of this world – loads of space and privacy and in a lovely quiet location – Adele could not have picked a better place. There were board games, videos available but to be honest, we were normally fast asleep in bed by 10pm. I can thoroughly recommend going on a retreat with Adele – she really does make you laugh and keep you thoroughly entertained and has an infectious mojo that you cannot but help adore her. I personally took away the fact that it is okay to have some ” down time and me time” and that we shouldn’t guilty in doing so and actually having a bit of down time gives you tons more energy. So I starting as I mean to go on and have already booked my next holiday. This was all complemented by Adele’s Get Gorgeous book which is like a good thriller – once you pick it up, you can’t put it down until you know “whodunnit!!”
So here’s to the next time!🥳🤩🐥

Susannah Jordan NHS manager Gorgeous Pilates Retreat 4th June 2019

Adele Owner of Get Gorgeous

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8 responses to “What are BEIGE carbs and WHY are they bad for you?”

  1. […] Don’t miss: What are beige carbs and why are they so bad for you? […]

  2. Avatar magicalsuzi says:

    So true. My clients often say they don’t eat any carbs but what they really should say is that they don’t eat the beige and white type as most don’t classify fruits and vegetables as carb. To be perfectly honest a lot of them don’t know a lot about nutrition and often believe anything they see on social media without checking out the source of the information they are reading.

  3. Brilliant comment Suzi, I think it is very easy to become confused about dietary advice, follow your instinct and listen to your body. Adele x

  4. Avatar Hazel says:

    Great post and something to really think about. I will share this with my coaching clients who want to transform their lives. I work with people who have low self esteem, anxiety and lack of confidence and often weight is linked to this.

  5. Avatar Pip says:

    I loved this blog about carbs and enjoyed reading it as I did not get to see the BBC programme and have yet to watch it on Catchup. I learnt a lot from it too as you explained it very clearly, plus with a sense of humour! There is just one big
    problem that is difficult to solve when trying to go the green route – HUSBANDS & PARTNERS! I have one of the former and he is an entrenched meat and potato man, who would not bother with vegetables most of the time if I did not force feed him them! The stories he tells his golfing mate! More and more we have separate meals and I would not like to tell you what he calls quinoa which I love to add to a stir fry for example….. It is a bit like Jack Spratt and his wife!

  6. […] Don’t miss: What are BEIGE carbs and WHY are they bad for you? […]

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