What is the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates?

We all know that carbs get a bad reputation but why? Carbohydrates are an essential part of diets they provide sugar and energy that our body needs in order to function properly. Carbs are what give us fuel to everyday things like walk or pick up a phone. The only thing about carbs is that there are some that are good and some that are bad they are like their own evil twin sibling. The good carbs are called complex and the bad is called simple. Eating both of these types of carbs as part of a balanced diet can be good for your body. Although you want to eat more of the complex carbs because they provide more energy and nutrients that your body needs. Here is why complex carbs are better and what is the difference between simple and complex carbs and why you should avoid slow-digesting carbohydrates.

Understanding carbohydrates: First let’s take a look at what carbohydrates are. Carbohydrates are sugar molecules that your body uses for energy. Just like plants need photosynthesis to survive we need carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are what give us fuel and energy to do everyday things like walking and talking. Carbs are separated into two categories simple and complex depending on their chemical structure and how quickly the sugar is digested and absorbed by your body they will be put into simple or complex categories. These two categories of carbs are essential for you to know in order to make the right choices when you eat food. Putting nutritious and healthy food into your body is crucial for you to live a healthy life.

Simple carbs: Even though their name says simple there is nothing simple about these carbs in your body. Simple carbs are digested by your body very easily but these types of carbs can spike up your glucose levels making it harder for your body to maintain a good balance. When simple carbs are being digested by your body they break down into sugar. These carbs create fast and powerful energy that only lasts a short time. Once your body produces that much energy it starts slowing down and you start to get tired. These highly processed carbs you need to stay away as much as possible. Simple carbs include refined sugar, candy, and cakes basically, anything that is processed or refined. 

Complex carbs: These types of carbs do the same thing as simple carbs, but the difference is in the timing and how long it takes your body to digest the carbs. Complex carbs are denser with nutrients that are high in fiber. If you are trying to lose weight eating more complex carbs would be ideal. Complex carbs make you feel full for longer periods of time. Complex carbs can also help people manage type 2 diabetes better since the food does not spike up their glucose levels like simple. It also helps people stay more active as the energy they provide is spread out through the day rather than a very quick sugar rush like simple carbs. Foods that are complex carbs are whole grains, broccoli, asparagus, and legumes. 

Limit highly processed food: You can eat processed foods your body can take it. You just have to moderate your intake. Ways to help with cutting back processed foods is to cook more at home. You don’t need to be a master chef in order to cook great meals all you need it to brush up in your skills and you’ll be good to go. Another way is to snack smatter. We as humans love to snack and why not right? We recommend for you to eat more nuts, cut up veggies, or fruits that hit your sweet spot. You can prepackage these snacks for later use instead of grabbing your regular bag of chips. 

Your body needs carbs in order to function properly as we have already discussed. Carbs also give you that satisfying feeling of being full. You don’t crave as much food when you eat complex carbs. When simple carbs are being processed in your bloodstream the process goes very fast, because the sugars in the carbs are refined and don’t contain as many nutrients as that are harder to digest by your body. When complex carbs are being digested by your body since they have to break down every single nutrient and molecule that has that carb your body will take longer thus feeling fuller longer. You don’t need to eat a lot in order to feel full you just need to eat better food. Snacking smarter is very helpful not only are you putting healthy food into your system you are also turning away from harsh additives and preservatives. So take care of your body and stop spiking up your glucose levels with simple carbs and start giving you body the food it deserves.



Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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