What Are Complex Carbs and Why Do We Need Them?
Have you heard someone mention “complex carbs”, and you wondered what they were talking about? Basically, carbs (carbohydrates) are either simple or complex. At first glance, you may think that simple carbohydrates are better for your body. They are broken down simply, so doesn’t it make sense that these would be healthy for you? Actually, the opposite is true.
The Difference Between Complex (Good) and Simple (Bad) Carbohydrates
Complex and simple carbohydrates differ greatly in how they are absorbed by your body. They are also digested differently. Think of simple carbohydrates as simple sugars. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly, and deliver no real nutrition; they just give you a burst of energy. Complex carbohydrates deliver nutrients and minerals as well as energy.
Complex carbohydrates have longer molecular chains, so it takes your body a longer time to break them down and absorb them. This leads to an even distribution of energy over a longer period of time and a longer lasting feeling of fullness. Simple carbohydrates, like those delivered by refined sugar, enter your bloodstream immediately. They are processed quickly, have little nutritional value, and lead to fat storage, short spikes in energy and an energy crash. Some simple carbohydrates are so refined, they begin to turn to sugar before you even swallow them!
Why Your Body Needs Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are important for a few reasons. As mentioned above, they are nutrient and mineral rich. They have all of the vitamins, phytonutrients and healthy, natural goodness your body needs to function properly.
They are usually also high in dietary fiber. Fiber keeps your digestive system working properly, and helps you regulate a naturally healthy body weight. Complex carbs are energy rich, and they deliver that energy consistently over a long period of time.
“Good” carbs promote proper sleep, boosted brain function and a healthy nervous system. In many cases, they are also low in calories, as opposed to unhealthy simple carbohydrates. Simply put, complex carbohydrates deliver much-needed benefits that promote inner and outer overall health.
Some Examples of Complex Carbohydrates
The following list includes some of the healthy complex carbohydrates you should regularly include in your diet:
Simple Carbohydrates to Avoid
Avoid or limit the following simple carbs. Your health and your waistline will thank you:
- White carbohydrates – rice, bread, pasta
- White fleshed potatoes – unlike sweet potatoes and purple fleshed potatoes, white potatoes are treated like simple carbs by your body
- Desserts, pastries
- Artificial syrups
- Candy and cookies
- Soda and energy drinks
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
I’m Cheryl A Major, and I work with people of all ages and challenges to help them understand how and what to eat to get healthy quickly and deliciously. Download your 10 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget, and get started right away!