Carbs! That dreaded word that seems to haunt most people. A big misconception of weight loss is to either cancel out or skimp on your carbohydrate intake. Contrary to popular believe, carbohydrates are vital in maintaining a healthy diet. Choosing the correct carbohydrate is the big difference in the entire matter. There are “good carbs” and there are “bad carbs”. What exactly are they and how are we to know the difference between the two? Well, let me break it down a little.
Simple (bad) carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with little to no nutritional value for your body. The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the worse the carbohydrate is for you. Remembering this is important in indicating if a carbohydrate is good or bad. Since “bad carbs” are fast digesting, they cause a spike to your blood sugar levels and then a crashing energy feeling – Often referred as a “sugar high”. Simple carbohydrates will make you feel full, but only for a brief time. Resulting in more hunger, which can lead to overeating.
Complex (good) carbohydrates are made up of a strand (much like a beaded necklace) of slow digesting sugars. They generally have a lower glycemic index level, which means that you will get lower amounts of sugars released at a more consistent rate. This will help with keeping you going throughout the day. This also helps with keeping you feeling fuller for an extended period of time. These types of carbs are typically in their most natural state – or as close to as possible.
With all of that said, fruits and vegetables are actually simple carbohydrates. They are composed of basic sugars, but are drastically different from other foods in the “bad carb” 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. Hence, why I mentioned the importance of remembering that foods with a high sugar and a low fiber content, being the worst in the carbohydrate family.
Complex (Good) Carbohydrates: (Low Glycemic Carbs)
- Whole grain breads
- Whole grain cereals
- Whole grain pastas
- Some dairy products
Simple (Bad) Carbohydrates: (High Glycemic Carbs)
- Refined grains like white bread and white rice
- Processed foods such as cake, cookies, chips, certain lunch meats, hotdog’s
- Soft drinks
- Look here to view the importance of reading and understanding the ingredients in our foods.