Have you heard someone mention “complex carbs” and wondered what they were talking about? Basically, carbohydrates are either simple or complex. At first glance, you might think that simple carbohydrates are better for your body. They are broken down simply, so doesn’t it make sense that these would be healthier for you? In fact, the opposite is true.
The Difference Between Complex (Good) and Simple (Bad) Carbohydrates
Complex and simple carbohydrates differ in how they are absorbed by your body. They are also digested differently. You can think of simple carbohydrates as simple sugars. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly, and deliver no nutrition, just energy. Complex carbohydrates deliver lots of nutrients and minerals, as well as energy.
Complex carbohydrates have longer molecular chains which means it takes your body longer to break them down and absorb them. This leads to an even distribution of energy over a longer period of time, and a much longer feeling of fullness. Simple carbohydrates, like those delivered by refined sugar, enter your bloodstream immediately. They are processed quickly, have little nutritional value, and lead to fat storage, short spikes in energy and a resulting energy crash.
Why Your Body Needs Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are important for several reasons. As mentioned above, they are nutrient and mineral rich. They have all of the vitamins, phytonutrients and healthy, natural goodness your body needs to function properly.
They are usually also high in dietary fibre. Fibre keeps your digestive system working properly, and helps you regulate a naturally healthy body weight. Complex carbs are energy rich, and deliver that energy consistently over a long period of time.
“Good” carbs promote better sleep, boosting brain function and a healthy nervous system. In many cases, they are also low in calories, as opposed to unhealthy simple carbohydrates. Simply put, complex carbohydrates deliver much-needed benefits that promote inner and outer overall health.
Some Examples of Complex Carbohydrates
The following list includes some healthy complex carbohydrates you definitely should be eating more of.
- Whole grain breads
- Brown rice
- Soy Milk
Simple Carbohydrates to Avoid
Avoid or limit the following simple carbs. Your health and waistline will thank you.
- White carbohydrates – rice, bread, pasta
- Potatoes – technically a complex carbohydrate but they are treated like simple carbs by your body
- Desserts, pastries
- Artificial syrups
- Sweets and biscuits
- Cola and energy drinks