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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is it OK to put corn and peas on my salad?

I went to lunch with my friends and we were at the salad bar choosing the various vegetables for our salads. When my two friends saw me putting peas & corn kernels on my salad (a small amount) they said both of those were very bad for you because they were loaded with starch. I understand the starch thing, but I read where they do have a lot of vitamins, minerals, folate, fiber and good carbs, as well as other nutritional benefits. I disagreed with them, telling them that foods high in starches, served in moderation, aren't bad for you. Am I wrong or were the two of them over-reacting?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

fresh peas and corn in a black bowl against a white background

Your friends are completely wrong. Period. While corn and peas are carbohydrates, they are really good for you. Both are full of fiber and are satisfying. While they are mostly carbohydrates (starches), it has long since been proven that low-carbohydrate diets are no better for you in the long term for losing weight. We now know that it is eating fewer calories that is the key and not limiting one particular type of food.

Here's some good research about this: Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites: It's Calories In vs. Calories Out

Next time you want to take some peas, tell your friends that research shows eating 4 servings of legumes (which is what peas are) each week lowers the risk of heart disease by 22%.

Tell them that a cup of corn has only 114 calories and almost 20% of the recommended daily amount of fiber. Use your argument about how both have "a lot of vitamins, minerals, folate, fiber and good carbs, as well as other nutritional benefits." Here's more on why corn is good for you.

You are correct and they are not. Worse yet, they are missing out on great foods by being misinformed about carbohydrates. Here's some more info for you: How to Eat Healthy: Carbohydrates Are Good For You, Too

Timothy S. Harlan MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet