The Truth About Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, or carbs for short, seem to be quite misunderstood. Although the general consensus that they provide energy is true, there are plenty of untrue rumours about carbs. But whatever these rumors are, we will help you uncover the truth behind carbohydrates!

Together with proteins and fats, carbs are one of the three main nutrients that we find in our foods and drinks. Our bodies break down carbs into glucose and use it as the main source of energy for our body’s cells, tissues and organs.

As carbohydrates provide us with energy to perform daily tasks, a lack of carbs results in restlessness and fatigue. There are two groups of carbohydrates known as complex carbs and simple carbs. Between the two, complex carbs are typically healthier for us as they are less likely to spike your blood sugar levels than simple carbs.

Although both types of carbs can be utilised by our bodies for energy, we are advised to stay away from simple carbs as these typically come from unhealthy foods such as soft drinks, sugary desserts and processed foods. An unhealthy intake of simple carbs comes with increased risks of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.

As a rule of thumb, abstain from simple carbs and look towards consuming more complex carbs. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the different complex and simple carbs and focusing on how you can clean up your diet to stay energetic and healthy!

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbs are considered “good” because they take longer to break down. This means that glucose will be released at a more consistent rate instead of high spikes and low dips.

Food with complex carbohydrates typically contain more important nutrients such as fibre and B vitamins. This includes whole grains such as whole-wheat flour, brown rice, oatmeal and whole cornmeal as they provide more nutrients than processed grains such as white bread and baked goods with white flour.

To maximise your “good” complex carbs intake, switch out white rice and white bread with wholemeal bread and unpolished rice such as brown rice. Making these changes to your diet will increase levels of fibre and carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates

Food containing simple carbs aren’t necessarily bad. What makes them bad really boils down to what food it is. For example, fruits and dairy products contain some simple carbs, but are drastically different from other food such as cookies and cakes. Processed sweets tend to contain refined sugar and lack key nutrients that your body requires to stay healthy.

Dairy also contains healthy nutrients such as calcium and protein, The protein component is key for helping dairy behave like complex carbs. The protein helps slow absorption of carbs into the bloodstream and keeps appetite levels steady. This also helps to regulate spikes and dips in the rate that glucose is broken down.

Striking A Healthy Balance

When it comes down to choosing between complex and simple carbs, it is not a question of which group is healthier, but rather, a question of what individual foods to eat from each group. As stated, both groups of carbs have their health benefits. Hence, choosing the right carbs, be it simple or complex, is the best way to consume a balanced diet.

In summary, carbohydrates are an important nutrient for your body to function at its best! However, it is important for us to be mindful of what foods we consume when we look for these nutrients!