Simple Carbs vs Complex Carbs: Both Bad or One Better?
Carbs can be divided into complex carbs and simple carbs.
Simple carbs, such as white bread and flours, are processed foods that are stripped of their nutrients, wheat germ and bran during the refining process. They offer little nutrition, are low in dietary fiber and are a source of refined simple sugars.
In contrast, complex carbs retain their nutrients, wheat germ, bran and the kernel, during the milling process. They are a source of dietary fiber and are digested more slowly in the body.
Examples of Simple and Complex Carbs
Simple carbs are basically sugar and can be natural or processed sugar.
- raw sugar
- brown sugar
- corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
- glucose, fructose, and sucrose
- fruit juice concentrate
Complex carbs are more nutrient dense than simple carbs, they will have higher fiber content and so digest more slowly. Because of this complex carbs are considered better for long-term health and so should make up most of your carb intake.
- whole wheat bread
Why Eat More Complex Carbs Than Simple Carbs?
Complex carbohydrates have been shown to be better for long-term health.
They make it easier to maintain your weight, and can even help guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the future.
Complex carbs in general contain much more fiber and so help you to feel fuller sooner and are great in assisting normal bowel movements.
Choosing which carbs to eat may take some practice but normally a quick check on the label and you to soon realise whether its a simple or complex carb. For example, simply check out the sugar content!
Three Main Benefits of Complex Carbs
Carbs are the primary source of fuel used by the body and brain to perform its necessary physical and mental functions.
Insufficient carbs in the diet lead to lethargy, weakness, and difficulty concentrating and thinking, as well as low moods and irritability.
Complex carbs found in whole grains, vegetables and fruit are preferable to processed foods, such as packaged granola bars, cakes and candy, since they digest at a slower rate. This releases energy to the body over a longer period of time, keeping energy levels stabilized.
Complex carbs are a source of dietary fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient in the diet that helps to regulate the digestive system.
It helps push food through the digestive tract as well as bulks up stools to aid in the elimination of waste products. This prevents common digestive discomforts such as constipation, bloating and gas.
The smooth elimination of waste from the body also aids in removing toxins and undigested materials from the body.
This is beneficial for preventing illnesses and for long-term weight loss success.
Vitamins and Minerals
Complex carbs are a source of essential vitamins and minerals needed in the body for normal functioning.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for hormonal balance, reproductive health, normal skin, nails and hair growth and good eyesight, among others.
High-fiber fruits and vegetables, such as berries, artichokes and cabbage, are a source of antioxidants, which aid in preventing certain cancers and heart disease.
Whole-grain foods, including breads and rice, are also a source of the B vitamins, which provide energy to the body and prevent muscle weakness.
Carbs To Eat and Carbs You Should Avoid
If you’re eating a low carb diet then there are carbs you certainly need to avoid. (See a great article here via Heathline)
For anyone eating a traditional carb diet then there are some high-carb foods that obviously need to be avoided, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cake and candy.
It can be sometimes be difficult to pick the so called “good carbs” though as carbs are not all created equal.
Should I Avoid Carbs If I Want To Lose Weight?
In recent years carbs have been targeted as the bad guy macro nutrient for those looking to lose weight.
Low carb diets are hugely popular now, suggesting that reducing your carbohydrate intake in your diet is the answer to shedding excess pounds. But is this correct?
Whilst carbs maybe controversial there are arguments for and against eating them as your main macro nutrient. Although important for energy, those looking to lose weight can see huge benefits from reducing carb intake in favor of higher protein.
There is significant research now that shows increasing protein intake can help you lose weight.
One thing is clear and what we recommend here on The Detox Guy, starving yourself of any macro nutrients for any length of time is not sound nutritional advice. Also its not sustainable meaning you’ll eventually quit and most likely end up frustrated!
In conclusion, carbs aren’t the bad guy – you just need to know when to consume one and make sensible food choices.