The jury is out on if are carbs actually good or bad for the body. There are many people arguing for each side. So what’s what? Let’s set it straight and find out the truth. We’ll hit the facts and found out some answers to the questions below.
- What is a carbohydrate?
- What is the difference between simple and complex?
- Which one is better for me?
First is first, what is a carbohydrate exactly? A carb, also a macronutrient, is a group of large and reoccurring organic compounds such as sugar, starch, and cellulose that are in foods and various other living tissues. In general these compounds contain hydrogen and oxygen. This is a ratio similar to water’s makeup. These are then broken down to be used as energy throughout the human body. This break down turns these carbs into blood glucose and blood sugar, which is used as energy. This macronutrient is in fact at least half of the daily intake in food everyday by individuals everywhere.
Although a carb is generalized as only being one kind, there are two different types of carbohydrates. These two types are simple and complex. So what exactly is the difference between the two? A simple carbohydrate can be either a monosaccharide or a disaccharide, while a complex carbohydrate is a polysaccharide. The difference between the two is the fact that simple carbs have a lower amount of sugar molecules, while complex has a higher count.
Many simple sugars are used to be broken down quickly and can be found in foods such as milk, fruits, and vegetables. Foods and drinks like soda, cake, and candy are considered simple, but do not provide the same nutrients as the other groups do. A complex carbohydrate is found in foods such as beans, rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables. These sugars are naturally occurring and when are not used are stored in the liver and muscles to be used later.
Now we know a general overview of both types of carbohydrates. So what’s better for the human body? In general eating a food or drink that contains a complex carb is better for the body. This specific type contains different vitamins, nutrients, and fiber that help the body stay fuller longer and provide more sustainable energy. Although complex carbs are generally better for you, ingesting too many starchy foods can be bad for the body.
The fact that complex is better for you doesn’t mean to cut out simple altogether. Simple carbohydrates make up the majority of fruits, vegetables, and milk. Although these foods still provide the same benefits as a complex, that does not go for all simple carbs do. The more processed simple carbohydrates contain higher amounts of sugar. Processed foods are generally different kinds of sweets, soda, and “white” grains. These foods have added sugar and are to be considered junk food.
So now that we both know what the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is, how can we keep up on this healthy eating trend? The answer is simple, try one of CARAVAN’s Mindful Eating classes. A highlighted program that we love is our Clean Eating Series. Our teacher Amy, take users on a journey of learning more about a balanced and healthy diet. She dives deeper into learning how different foods and nutrients can affect your body in either a good or bad way.
- If you want to learn more about eating healthy and what kinds of foods to avoid check out our blog post Junk Food Wars. Click Here to keep reading.
Both simple and complex carbs have their benefits, but also can be bad to ingest. In general complex carbohydrates are going to be better for the human body because of the heightened nutrients. Too many starchy complex carbs though can lead to unhealthy eating. Simple carbs should be limited to fruits, veggies, and milk because they contain those beneficial nutrients. It is important to stay away from processed simple carbohydrates because they contained refined sugars that are bad for the body to ingest continuously.
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