WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EACH TYPE OF CARBOHYDRATE?

JANUARY 12 - WORLDSTRONG ATHLETICS - BLOG

We all love our carbohydrates. They come in different forms, such as rice, bread, fruits and many more. It's almost impossible to avoid because they're everywhere! But as much carbs there are and how much we enjoy consuming them, it's important to be aware of the types of carbs we take in.

Carbohydrates Can Either Be A Simple Carb Or A Complex Carb

Carbs are our main source of energy and play a crucial part to a well balanced diet. According to Healthline, the 3 main types of carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fibers. Based on their chemical makeup and what the body does with them, will determine if it will be called a simple or complex carb. But since there are usually more than one type of carbs in many foods, it can still be challenging to understand what's healthy and what's not. So let's get to the details and understand more about our favorite nutrient!

Let's start with simple carbs. Everyday Health, says, they are composed with easy to digest, basic sugars, which can be an important source of energy. Some of these sugars occur naturally in foods such as, fruits and milk, while refined and processed sugars are found in candies, baked goods and soda.

Complex carbs are found in starchy vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They are composed of longer chains of sugar molecules, which takes the body more time to break down and use. As a result, providing you a more consistent amount of energy, (Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD Nutrtionist and owner of Nutrition Works In Louisville, Kentucky).

More On Simple Carbs

Simple carbs have a pretty bad reputation, but they aren't all that bad for you actually. The reason why they're viewed so negatively is because of the foods people usually choose to get them from, such as candy, soda, cookies, energy drink, ice cream and pastries, which contain a lot of processed (unnatural) sugar. Simple carbs can naturally be found in fruits and vegetables, which will offer you the excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals, necessary for good health. The fiber in fruits and vegetables makes the body process the sugar differently and slows down the digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbs.

More On Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are viewed as "good" carbs because it takes the body more time to break down the longer series of sugar it contains. In other words, you get lowers amounts of sugar released at a more constant rate, opposed to sudden peaks and lows. 

Foods that contain complex carbs usually provide more vitamins, fibers and minerals as long as you choose whole grains over processed ones. For example, you'll get more nutrients from whole grains like brown rice vs. processed grains, like white rice. Some other foods that contain complex carbs are quinoas, corn, whole wheat breads, wild rice, barely and potatoes. 

Bottom Line

Both simple and complex carbs are not bad for you. Both are necessary for a heathy diet. Just be more aware of the carbs you choose. Skip the low nutrient desserts and sodas. Consider the levels of sugar and fiber, and focus on whole grains, veggies and fruits to gain the energy your body needs every day.

Image by Ameen Fahmy
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