Simple vs. Complex Carbs, Who Seriously Cares?

So my plan was to get into this really awesome and informative post about simple vs. complex carbohydrates.

But the more I researched it, the more confusing it became, even for me!

And I hate when nutrition is confusing and not to the point.

A lot of people know there’s a difference in the type of carbohydrate we consume, so let’s try out best to break it down here and then talk about why I really don’t care about the distinction.

A soda has sugar in it and a slice of whole-wheat bread also has sugar in it.

The end product of carbohydrate digestion of a soda and piece of bread is the same- individual sugar molecules.

Weight loss is not necessarily dependent on a healthy carbohydrate vs a not so healthy carbohydrate. 

But when it comes down to your overall health and the nutrition needs of your body, the type of carbohydrate you consume- whether it be from a soda or piece of bread, does matter.

Complex carbohydrates are many different sugar molecules stranded in long chains- referred to as dietary starch.

Simple carbohydrates are usually just one or two sugar molecules bonded together.

The reason why we want to focus on consuming more complex carbohydrates in the diet is that complex carbohydrates are packed with fiber. 

This allows complex carbohydrates to be absorbed slower in the bloodstream than simple carbohydrates, which will help you stay full longer.

As complex carbohydrates are slowly absorbed and help us feel full, this will ultimately improve satiety so we aren’t prone to munching or snacking throughout the day.

This is especially helpful because when we are in a calorie deficit to lose weight, we want to focus on consuming foods that help us feel full.

Let’s get into the food sources!

Simple carbohydrates include table sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, jams, fruit drinks, candy, cookies, sodas, and some breakfast cereals.

Complex carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, beans, corn, oats, brown rice, potatoes, and peas.

You might be thinking, wait… vegetables are carbohydrates?

Technically they are because anything with fiber in it is a complex carbohydrate, but they aren’t as starchy compared to bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc.

Vegetables are amazing not only for their fiber content but for their nutrients our body needs such as Vitamin A in carrots, the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes and potassium in spinach.

Simple carbohydrates do not offer our bodies many nutrients except sugar, which may taste great but don’t do much for us nutritionally. 

Complex carbohydrates contain fiber, help with satiety, and contain a whole host of nutrients that our body craves and requires. 

But here’s the thing.

White bread is considered both a complex carbohydrate and a simple carbohydrate. 

Confusing, right? 

We want to consume complex carbs but are often told white bread is not the best option.

White bread is a complex carb because it has long chains of sugar molecules but then also considered a simple carb because it’s refined- the fiber is removed making absorption faster.

The same thing with fruit.

Fruit has one sugar molecule in it making it a simple carbohydrate, which we are told to avoid.

But then fruit also has fiber in it which are those long chains of sugar molecules, technically making it somewhat of a complex carbohydrate.

Annoying, I know.

So what’s the bottom line?

Instead of focusing on consuming simple or complex carbohydrates, let’s just focus on consuming the right foods

We know fruit is good for us, we know whole-wheat bread is a better option than refined white bread. 

So stick with that. Don’t worry about the categorization.

Focus on consuming beans, brown rice, legumes, vegetables, oats, etc.

Consume processed refined foods such as white bread, candy, desserts, baked goods in moderation since they do not do much for us nutritionally, but taste damn good. 

Remember, there’s no need to completely take carbohydrates out of your diet if you want to lose weight or tone your body.

Every time I have experimented with low-carbohydrate diets, my body just ended up craving them more.

Carbohydrates are abundant in our food supply, and it is easy to get the bread, rice, cereal, and pasta in our diet, but sometimes not as easy to get enough fruit and vegetables in our diet.

It’s important to make sure we consume enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains throughout the day but also give our bodies the balance it desires, and for me, that’s chocolate all the way!


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