The Two Types of Carbohydrates - Complex and Simple
Green Tea - updated June 2021
Carbohydrates are being blamed for gaining weight and making people fat. But any food can have this effect if you eat more than your body needs. If you always consume more energy compared to what your body uses, it will cause you to gain weight.
Before blaming carbohydrates, you have to also learn that it's what gives your body the energy it needs. It helps you to do the things that you need to do because of the energy it provides. Although, there are good and bad carbohydrates that you should know about.
There are different types of carbohydrates that you should be aware of if you want to understand them better. The first one is the simple carbohydrates and the other is the complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates or also known as sugars are made of shorter chains of molecules. Therefore, they easily get digested on your body.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, contain longer chains of sugar molecules. Your body will convert the sugar molecules to glucose to use as a source of energy. They are also longer to break down and can provide a long-lasting and more source of energy compared to simple carbohydrates.
How Does the Body Use Carbs
After eating carbohydrates, your body will start to break them down into smaller units of sugar. These are glucose, fructose, and galactose and they will be absorbed in the small intestine. Afterward, it will enter the bloodstream and go to the liver.
When the sugar level rises in the body, the pancreas will release a hormone which is known as insulin. It's needed so that the sugar inside your body can move from your bloodstream to your cells. This is where the sugar will be used as an energy source.
Simple carbs are the type of carbohydrates that can easily get absorbed by your body. Your body can immediately use it as a source of energy. Examples of simple carbs can be found in natural foods such as milk, fruits, and other milk products.
They can also be found in different types of processed foods that contain refined sugar. These are candies, table sugar, sodas, syrups, and the likes. It can quickly provide you energy but the thing is, it doesn't contain any nutritional value.
Simple Carb Foods to Avoid
Although simple carbs can provide your body energy almost instantly, it doesn't mean that you should eat them regularly. Bad simple carbs exist and not only will it make you gain weight, but it's also bad for your health.
If you want to lose weight, you have to reduce or eliminate consuming these bad carbs. Soda, candy, and desserts are some examples of food that you should avoid. Processed foods like crackers, granola bars, and potato chips are also considered as bad carbs. In the USA we eat many simple carb foods that is why we have an obesity pandemic in the USA
Complex carbs are longer to digest and to be absorbed by your body. But these types of carbohydrates can provide the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs. Choosing complex carbohydrates to include in your diet can help you to be healthier.
Most of the complex carbs came from starches and natural sugars. Processed foods and refined sugar should be avoided since they don't have the vitamins, fiber, and minerals found in complex carbs. Those are also known as empty calories since they don't contain any nutritional value.
Foods that Have Complex Carbs
Complex carbs can be found in foods that are not processed. These are whole grains such as brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, whole-grain barley, bulgur, and farro. Grain-like foods like quinoa and buckwheat are also foods with complex carbs.
Starchy vegetables are also included on the list such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn. Complex carbs can also be found in non-starchy vegetables from asparagus to zucchini. Don't forget the beans, legumes, kidney beans, and chickpeas are also complex carbs.
The Glycemic Load Factor
The glycemic load factor indicated how fast a certain food with carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels. It also factors in the actual amount of that specific carbohydrate that's being consumed.
The normal glycemic load for one serving of food should be less than 20. If it's more than that, it will already be considered high. The glycemic load of 11 to 19 is medium and the glycemic level of 10 or less is already low. Another way to mitigate glycemic load factor would be to take our white kidney bean extract.
- What are good carbs for weight loss?
There are many types of carbohydrates that are good for staying healthy. But if your goal is to lose weight, you should choose the carbs you consume. Quinoa, black rice, barley, oatmeal, popcorn, and farro are good carbs that you can eat to lose weight.
The daily value for carbs should be 300 grams per day based on the 2,000 calorie diet. That's the recommended daily nutritional value according to the Food and Drug Administration. If you want to lose weight, cut down your daily intake to around 50-150 grams of carbs.Read our article Carb Cycling for Weight Loss
- What is the lowest carb potato?
Red potatoes contain only 31 grams of carbs which is lower compared to the carbs in white potatoes. You can also try sweet potato which has lower calories and carbs than white potato so it can be a good alternative. The trick is to only consume a small amount to avoid more carbs.
- What vegetables are high in carbohydrates?
Vegetables with high carbs content don't mean that you should not eat them anymore. All you have to do is to consume a lesser amount than you normally do if you're trying to lose weight. Below is the list of vegetables with high carbohydrates.
- Black-eyed peas
- Garbanzo beans
- Pinto beans
- White beans
- Lima beans
- Green peas
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
Now that you know the types of carbohydrates, you finally realized not all carbs can make you fat. If you eat the right amount daily, it should not make you gain weight. But if you're still confused about carbohydrates, you can take carb blockers to help you shed some pounds instead.