Carbohydrate foods are an important part of your diet, but that does not mean you’re free to load up on cakes and cookies to get your daily amount. You need to understand the difference between healthy carbs and bad carbs. Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, but there is much conversations about the good and bad carbohydrates.
Healthy vs. Bad Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, often referred to as “carbs,” are your body’s primary energy source, and carbs are vital part of any healthy diet. Carbs should never be avoided, but it’s important to know that not all carbs are same.
Carbohydrates can be either simple “bad” or “good” based on their chemical composition and how does your body reacts with them.
Complex carbohydrates (healthy carbs), like legumes and whole grains, contain longer chains of sugar molecules; these usually take more time for the body to break down and use as energy. This, in turn, provides you with a more even amount of energy for better functioning of your body.
The Detail on Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with minute real value for your body. The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the poorer the carbohydrate is for you — remember those leading indicators when trying to figure out if a carbohydrate is good or bad for your health.
Vegetables and fruits are actually simple carbohydrates — still composed of basic sugars, although they are drastically different from other foods in the category, like cookies and cakes. The fiber in fruits and vegetables changes the way that the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates to limit in your every-day diet include:
- Artificial syrups
- White rice
- white bread
- white pasta
- Pastries and desserts
- Potatoes (which are technically a complex carb, but act more like simple carbs in the body)
You can enjoy simple carbohydrates on occasion, you just do not want them to be your primary sources of carbs. And within the simple carb category, there are better choices — a baked potato, white rice, and regular pasta — than others — chips, pies, cakes, and cookies.
The Detail on Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are considered “healthy carbs” because of the longer series of sugars that make them up and take the body more time to break down. They generally have a lower glycemic load, which means that you will get decreased amount of sugars released at a more reliable rate — instead of peaks and valleys —to keep you going throughout the day.
Picking complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates is a matter of making some simple substitutions when it comes to your meals. Have brown rice instead of white rice, have whole-wheat pasta instead of plain white pasta.
To know if a packaged food is made of simple or complex carbohydrates, look at the label. Read the box so you know what exactly you will be eating. If the first ingredient is whole-wheat flour or whole-oat flower, it’s likely going to be a complex carbohydrate, and if there’s fiber there, it’s probably more complex in nature.
Just be wise about the carbohydrates foods you choose. Skip low-nutrient dessert, before eating think about the levels of sugar and fibers in carbs, and focus on healthy carbs such as veggies, whole grains, and fruits to get the energy your body needs in every day life.