Carbohydrates have earned a negative reputation in recent years, especially with the emergence of different diet fads. People who are trying to lose weight commonly fear carbs because they believe these are fattening, so they try to cut it from their diets completely.
But plenty of medical professionals and nutritionists explain there are different types of carbs – some are good for you, while others not so much. Weight loss clinics, like Orem’s MD Diet Clinic, prescribe appropriate nutrition programs according to the patient’s needs, but some still hastily commit to diets that may not be good for their health.
So what’s the difference between good and bad carbs and how can you choose the best ones according to your diet and lifestyle?
Simplex and Complex
Carbohydrates are macronutrients that provide the body with energy. Carbs can be broken down into three categories: sugar, starch, and fiber. The body breaks down sugar and starch into glucose, which acts as its main source of fuel. Humans can’t digest fiber, but this is what the friendly bacteria in the digestive system feeds on.
These three categories have two classifications: complex and simple carbs.
- Simple or Refined Carbs: These contain natural sugars that the body can easily digest, thus providing quick energy. Some vegetables, fruits, milk, and dairy products are good sources of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are also present in processed food, such as soda, artificial juices, white sugar, and some pastries. Although they are simple carbs, fruits, veggies, and milk contain essential nutrients, protein, and fiber.
- Complex or Whole Carbs: These are food that are rich in starch and fiber, which the body takes longer to break down into glucose and use as energy. Complex carbohydrates contain essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Some good sources of complex carbs are beans, whole grains, quinoa, legumes, brown rice, and oats.
Which carbs should you eat?
As a rule, the best carbohydrates are the ones that come from natural sources. Processed food, like corn flakes, juice powder, and potato chips, are stripped of nutrients, vitamins, and fiber and filled instead with preservatives and sugar. These simple or refined carbs have little to no fiber, making it easier and quicker to digest.
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