Carbohydrates are one of three basic macronutrients needed to sustain life (the other two are proteins and fats). They are found in a wide range of foods that bring a variety of other important nutrients to the diet, such as vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. Fruits, vegetables, grain foods, and many dairy products naturally contain carbohydrates in varying amounts, including sugars, which are a type of carbohydrate that can add taste appeal to a nutritious diet.
Carbohydrates, often referred to as are your body's primary energy source, and they're a crucial part of any healthy diet. Carbs should never be avoided, but it is important to understand that not all carbs are alike.
As any Personal Trainer in Alpharetta will tell you, there are two types of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be either simple (nicknamed "bad") or complex (nicknamed "good") based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them.
Complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and legumes, contain longer chains of sugar molecules; these usually take more time for the body to break down and use.
Simple carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with little real value for your body. The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the worse the carbohydrate is for you — remember those leading indicators when trying to figure out if a carbohydrate is good or bad.
Fruits and vegetables 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 diet include:
- Artificial syrups
- White rice, white bread, and white pasta
- Potatoes (which are technically a complex carb, but act more like simple carbs in the body)
- Pastries and desserts
Complex carbohydrates are considered "good" 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 lower amounts of sugars released at a more consistent 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,"
These simple changes in your diet can make a world of difference in your overall health and wellness. By eating more Complex Carbs over Simple carbs you not only will drop your blood sugar, lower cholesterol, but it will even help you lose those stubborn last few pounds.
If you have any more questions about your diet or ways to increase your wellness reach out to your Personal Trainer in Alpharetta or any of our other AMAZING staff here at Thrive Health Systems! We are here to help 770-667-0099