The right carbs can actually be healthy!
Carbs is a hot topic for years now especially when it comes to weight loss. If you look up information about carbs you will immediately spot 2 opposite opinions regarding carbohydrates.
The ones that swear carbs are the devil and bad for you. The other ones that say carbs are good for you and crucial for your health. Who is right?!
The answer is they are both right. In order to understand how both statements can be right, I will give you some guidance and explain the different forms of carbs with definitions.
It is important to understand that not all carbs are the same. Carbohydrates are a very wide category.
Composition of carbohydrates – What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrate foods are any foods that are digested and become sugar. But the difference is that some carbs raise your blood sugar faster than others. To keep an eye on your blood sugar levels is important when your goal is to lose weight.
In general, carbs contain single, double or multiple sugar molecules (saccharides). They provide your body with energy. Especially your brain prefers sugar as the main source of energy. It cannot get easily energy from fat or protein.
Carbohydrates come in two types: simple vs. complex carbs
The difference is based on the number of sugar molecules they are build of. Let’s define the types more specific.
Simple vs. complex carbs
- shorter chains of sugars
- simplest form of sugars, that your body can’t break down any further
- because they don’t have to be broken down any further, they get into your bloodstream very quick
Some of these sugars occur naturally in foods like fruit or dairy products. And some are processed sugars that are added to baked goods, lemonade, sauces or candy.
- longer chains of sugars
- they take longer to be digested
- steady blood sugar level
Let’s take a closer look at complex carbohydrates.
With complex carbs, you avoid high sugar spikes in your blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar will be on a more constant level. Because of the longer chains, it takes your body longer to digest the foods and sugar is being released into the bloodstream step by step.
Every food is a mixture of several nutrients. Foods with a high amount of complex carbs tend to be rich in fiber, have more vitamins and minerals than foods with simple carbs.
If possible always go for whole grains because they add more nutritional value to your diet.
Processed grains lose some of their nutrients during production. Think about pasta … grains are grounded into flour and the dough will be boiled in hot water. And then it has to be dried to make it ready for commerce.
These steps alone make an originally nutritious whole grain almost useless in terms of nutritional value.
Complex carbohydrates examples
The best complex carbs for your health are in whole foods. Stay away from highly processed products with a long ingredient list that includes terms you have never heard before in your life. If you choose the right foods it will complement your health, overall fitness and help with weight management.
Here is a list of the best choices for complex carbohydrates:
- brown rice
- whole wheat bread
- whole wheat pasta
- leafy green vegetables
Why are complex carbs better than simple carbs?
- They keep you full for longer
Foods with simple carbs like candy or baked goods give you an instant spike of energy and boost your blood sugar levels. They are digested fast and after that, your blood sugar level crashes and you feel like you are starving again. Because of their longer sugar chains, complex carbs take longer to break down and won’t elevate your blood sugar as instant as simple carbs. Additionally, a lot of foods with complex carbohydrates are also rich in fiber. Fiber tends to increase the viscosity of the digested food in your bowel. That slows down carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption.
As a result, you feel full and satiated for longer.
- Foods rich in complex carbs are more nutritious
Take a look again at the list of complex carb foods above ↑. They are all unprocessed and full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These foods nourish your body with a huge spectrum of nutrients. In comparison foods with mainly simple carbs provide nothing but empty calories. You can’t find any vitamins or minerals in muffins or twinkies.
- Complex carbs support weight loss
“Do carbs make me fat?” is a common question and people are confused and wonder if they are ever allowed to eat carbs when they want to lose weight.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It cannot be broken down in sugar molecules but helps to regulate the body’s use of sugar. This characteristic makes it perfect for weight loss. It keeps you full for longer and manages blood sugar levels.
The daily recommended intake of fiber is a minimum of 30 gr. However, most people only get half the recommended amount especially when they are eating a lot of processed foods. Processed foods are often low in fiber because it lowers the shelf-life of products.
As you can see you don’t have to avoid all carbs in general. Complex carbs are healthy and they should be included in your diet daily. They have good qualities and are beneficial to a healthy and nutritious life.