What is the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates?

What is the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates?

Simple or complex carbohydrates, which is better?

Carbohydrates are a major macronutrient and one of the body's primary sources of energy. Although some weight loss programs discourage eating them, the truth is that the key to health and an ideal weight lies in making sure you eat the right carbohydrates, and not avoid them completely.

You may have heard that eating complex carbohydrates is better than eating simple carbohydrates. In fact, this is completely accurate, but the reality is that nutrition labels do not always tell you whether a food's carbohydrate content is simple or complex.

This article can help you understand how these foods are categorized and how they work in your body, thus helping you to choose healthy and appropriate carbohydrates.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are an important nutrient (nutrient) found in many types of foods. Unfortunately, most of us rely on bread and pasta as a source of carbohydrates. But in fact, there are a variety of sources of carbohydrates, such as:

Dairy products






Sugary foods and sweets

In general, carbohydrates are made up of three basic components: fiber, starch, and sugar.

Fiber and starch are complex carbohydrates, while sugar is a simple carbohydrate.

Depending on the percentage of these elements in the food you eat, you can determine the nutritional value of your food.

Simple carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates equal quick and easy nutrition.

Simply put, simple carbohydrates are sugars. While some are found naturally in milk and some other foods, most are added to many foods and meals.

Common simple carbohydrates added to foods include:

raw sugar;

brown sugar;

Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.

Concentrated fruit juice.

What simple carbohydrate foods should be avoided?

get rid of sugars

Try to avoid some of the more common refined sources of simple carbs, and look for alternatives to satisfy your craving for sweets. Among the most harmful sugary foods to health, we mention:

1 Soda (cola and soft drinks)

Sugary soft drinks are harmful to your health in many ways. You can try lemon-flavored water instead.

2 processed baked goods

Try satisfying your teeth with sweets found in natural fruits instead of baked goods that are full of simple carbs and harmful added sugars.

3- Canned Biscuits and Pre-made Cookies:

Make your own using alternatives like apple juice and natural sweeteners (honey and dates), or look for other blends that contain more complex carbohydrates.

4- Concentrated fruit juice:

An easy way to avoid concentrated fruit juice is to pay attention to nutrition labels, as you should always choose 100% natural fruit juice or make your own at home.

5 breakfast cereals

In fact, breakfast cereals are loaded with simple carbs, so if you can't kick the habit of eating them as your morning breakfast, check cereal labels from best to worst.

The more complex carbohydrates, the better for your health:

Complex carbohydrates contain more nutrients than simple carbohydrates. They are rich in fiber and digest more slowly, which makes them feel fuller for longer, which means they are a good option for losing weight. It is also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because it helps in regulating the rise in blood sugar after meals.

Fiber and starch are complex carbohydrates. Fiber is especially important because it promotes regular bowel movements and helps control cholesterol.

Primary sources of dietary fiber include the following:





Whole grains

As for starch, it is also found in some of the same foods that contain fiber. The difference is that some foods are considered starchy rather than fibrous, where the amount of starch in them is greater than the amount of fiber, such as potatoes and some other foods high in starch such as:

Whole wheat bread (brown)

Breakfast Cereal




the rice

In fact, complex carbohydrates are the key to good long-term health. They facilitate and help maintain a healthy weight, and can help prevent type 2 diabetes and future cardiovascular problems.

Make sure to include the following complex carbohydrates as part of your diet:


1- Whole grains:

In particular, whole grains are a good source of fiber, as well as potassium, magnesium, and selenium.

Choose less processed whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, and whole-wheat pasta.

2- Fruits rich in fiber:

Some types of fruits rich in fiber are: apples, berries, and bananas.

Avoid canned fruits because they sometimes contain added syrup, so they are not entirely natural.

3- Vegetables rich in fiber:

You should eat good amounts of all vegetables, including broccoli, leafy greens and carrots.

4 beans:

Aside from fiber, beans are a good source of folate, iron and potassium.


In fact, choosing the right carbohydrates can take time and practice. But with a little research and careful attention to nutrition labels, you can start making healthy choices to revitalize your body and protect it from harmful long-term complications.


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