Carbohydrates: Simple vs. Complex
Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories: Simple and Complex.
Fibre and starch are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. Depending on the amount of each of these is found in the food source determines its nutrient quality.
Simple carbohydrates have very little nutritional value and are usually added to foods. They are absorbed from the gut rapidly causing blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise quickly.
These rapidly absorbed carbohydrates often taste sweet in the mouth or are refined (e.g. white flour foods, bread and pastries). They have a high glycemic index and offer no vitamins and minerals in return. Some examples include soft drinks, chocolate, fruit juice concentrate, breakfast cereals, and candy.
Complex carbohydrates pack in more nutrients than simple carbohydrates. They’re higher in fibre and digest more slowly. This also makes them more filling, which means they’re a good option for weight control. This includes quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, fibre-rich fruits like apples, bananas, berries, as well as fibre-rich vegetables like broccoli and carrots.
Complex carbohydrates are key to long-term health. They make it easier to maintain a healthy weight and can even help type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels and prevent cardiovascular problems in the future.
The key is to find the right carbs and finding balance.