It’s nearly impossible to have any serious conversations, or read an article about nutrition or diet, without stumbling upon the word carbs or carbohydrates every now and then. No wonder, these biological molecules are present in so much food we are consuming on a daily basis.
Carbs are present in fruits, cookies, and cereals! This primary energy source has to be mentioned if you are trying to stay fit and lose weight.
It doesn’t help them that they are usually seen as a bad guy either, but since fats have escaped this unflattering label and it’s very well know that there are some of them that are useful, we will try to do the same favor for the carbs.
Let’s see how to distinguish the good guys from bad ones.
Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates that are nicknamed “bad” are labeled as simple carbohydrates. The “good” carbs are labeled as complex carbohydrates , and they are very beneficial to your body. For example, complex carbohydrates, like legumes and whole grains, contain longer chains of sugar molecules. That’s important because it takes more time for your body to break them down and use them.
According to Sandra Meyerowiz, MPH, PhD, this in turn provides your body with a more even amount of energy.
Simple carbohydrates are made of simple-to-digest basic sugars that, unfortunately, offer very little real value to your body. You will recognize them by two very simple indicators – high level of sugar and low level of fiber. The only facts that can potentially cause some confusion here are the fruit and vegetables; which are composed out of basic sugars.
The fiber makeup of fruits and veggies changes the way the body processes them, and slows down digestion; they are more akin to complex carbohydrates. What you need to avoid is the rest of the simple carbohydrates, like candies, soda, sugar, white rice, pastries and desserts.
As we have mentioned above, complex carbohydrates are broken down by your body much slower than simple ones, which means that it will get lower amounts of sugar released at much more consistent rates, instead of sudden blood sugar spikes which are synonymous with the latter group of carbs.
They don’t lose their nutritional value during cooking, and they don’t need any addition of fake nutrients either.
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The best way to recognize them is to check the type of flour some foods are made of. If it’s whole-oat flour or whole-wheat flour, it is very likely that those are complex carbohydrates. Other thing you should look for is the presence of fiber.
The more fiber there is, the more complex in nature the carbs will be. They can usually be found in products such as oatmeal, brown rice, rye bread, high fiber cereal, buckwheat and muesli.
These carbs provide your body with health benefits that help in reducing the waistline, burning fat, boosting your mood, and keeping your memory sharp as well.
The Question of the Glycemic Index
Even with this is mind, there is another way of knowing the difference between good and bad carbs. Made by nutritionists to make everyone’s life easier, the glycemic index helps with the classifications of carbs..
Basically, this kind of classification gives food a GI value based on how quickly and how high the blood sugar in your body will rise after you eat food containing carbohydrates.
It goes without saying that the lower this index is, the food you are eating is healthier. Most of the complex carbohydrates fall into the Low GI Foods (55 or lower GI numbers) group.
We hope that now your life will be just a little bit easier. Your body is the greatest treasure you can ever have, so keeping it alive and in good shape should be your highest priority. If good carbs can help you to do that, then they are a tremendously important ally; you should really try to get to know them better.