Complex Carbs vs Simple Carbs

bowl of oatmeal

You hear the term "carb" all the time and it's important to know which ones are good to eat. Carbs are simple sugar molecules and are the most common source of energy. Many times carbs get a bad rap because of the low-carb diet trends, however, carbs are a good source of fuel for cardio workouts and weight training. The key is knowing which carbs to eat for fuel and which ones to stay away from.

Complex Carbs
These carbs are considered the "good carbs" (also known as unrefined) because foods containing complex carbohydrates maintain their natural water content, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They help you feel more satisfied after eating them. These complex carbs can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.

Simple Carbs
The simple carbs are known as the "bad carbs" or processed foods. Foods containing these simple carbs have had the nutrition removed from them. Eating a lot of processed foods tend to leave you feeling unsatisfied and trigger overeating. This is due to the increased insulin levels needed to balance out blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels drop too low, it triggers appetite which then leads to overeating.

Our bodies have a limit on how much sugar it can store as fuel. Any extra sugar is turned into fat, thus the reason for putting on the pounds.

The Good Carbs to Eat
So which foods are considered good carbs? Just think of foods that are close to nature as possible and haven't been altered (processed.) Examples include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains

The Bad Carb Foods
When you think of bad carbs, think of foods such as baked goods and mainly foods that are white (flour and sugar.) Examples of bad carbs:

  • Most baked goods (cookies, cake, pies, etc.)
  • White bread
  • Pastas
  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Fruit juices (many contain corn syrup)

Choose your carbs wisely! Stick to natural, whole foods. They contain the nutrition you need and provide the energy that helps when you're working out.

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