Carbohydrates (carbs) are an essential energy source and part of a healthy diet. They are the body’s primary energy source. But not all carbs are created equal. Want to know the difference between good carbs and bad carbs? The answer is simple and complex.
Let us tell you everything about carbohydrates that you should know and to make smart and intelligent choices when it comes to incorporating them into your diet.
Types of Carbohydrates
The three main types of carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fiber. Based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them, they are called “simple” or “complex.” Many foods are not segregated into simple or complex. Instead, many foods contain one or more types of carbohydrates. And it may be tricky to understand what you should incorporate into your diet and what’s not.
Simple carbohydrates include only one or two sugar molecules; they are called monosaccharides and disaccharides. Simple carbs are composed of easy-to-digest, essential sugars, which can be an important source of energy. You can find simple carbohydrates in foods including things like milk, juice, fruit, table sugar, and syrup.
Body digest naturally occurring or added sugars easily. But, it doesn’t mean that simple carbohydrates are necessarily all bad carbs. It all depends on the food you’re getting them from. Consuming fruits and vegetables, which are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals, is good for health. But food like crackers and chips lack in essential nutrients, such as fiber and vitamins.
Also, the fiber in fruits and vegetables modifies how the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, thus transforming them into a bit more like complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are found in food such as:
- Pastries and desserts
- Sweetened beverages, such as lemonade or iced tea
- Energy drinks
- Ice cream
Complex carbohydrates are referred to as polysaccharides, which simply means that they contain at least three glucose molecules. They are considered good because of the more extended series of sugars that they are made of, due to which the body takes longer to break down.
Foods high in starch and fiber take longer to digest and contain important vitamins, prebiotics, minerals, and antioxidants. It means that you can power through the whole day by these slow-release energies which will help regulate appetite and blood sugar, keeping you feeling full for longer
Compared to simple carbohydrates, foods containing complex carbohydrates have more vitamins, fiber, and minerals. For instance, whole grains, such as whole-wheat flour, brown rice, quinoa, barley, corn, and oats, provide more nutrients than processed grains, such as white rice and pasta, bread, and baked goods made with white flour.
The following food contains complex carbohydrates:
- Whole wheat bread, pasta, and flour
- Brown and wild rice
- Legumes, such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and others
Therefore, it is essential to read the labels and ingredients before buying food. Read carefully, if you are getting whole-wheat flour or whole-oat flour. When you are determining a source of carbohydrates based on good or bad, always remember this: the higher the sugar it is and lowers the fiber, minerals, and vitamins, it is the wrong kind of food.