In your quest to lose weight, you are going to (or perhaps have already) encounter such advice as "eat good carbs" or "avoid simple carbohydrates". We've been taught that carbohydrates are carbohydrates so the confusion is understandable. This article aims to help you understand what the difference is and why you should choose the good over the simple.
Let's start simply first and understand what simple carbohydrates are. They are so called because they are easily, readily and simply digested in your body. They give a burst of ready energy since they are right away converted to glucose that the body can use. But since these are simple sugars, they cause blood sugar levels to go up in a jiffy. White bread, sodas and candy are usually made of simple carbs. Most refined and processed food are made up of simple carbs.
Complex carbohydrates, otherwise known as the good carbs, are digested more slowly and do not cause spikes in insulin or blood sugar levels. Usually found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, these are undoubtedly better alternatives not only for their weight loss benefits but for overall health and wellness as well. Complex carbohydrates are beneficial because of the following reasons:
1. They are low in calories. They help manage weight because they satisfy one longer and are digested more slowly.
2. They have high fiber content. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains have fiber that helps cleanse the digestive system and gives one a feeling of satiety, therefore inhibiting the need to snack more often.
3. Aside from the goodness of fiber, good carbs also have phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are not present in simple sugars. These help fight debilitating diseases such as cancer and other cardiovascular diseases.
It used to be that carbohydrates were generalized as the evil behind our desire to lose weight. However, this has been proven to be an unfair conclusion that has placed complex carbohydrates in a bad light. What is detrimental for our health and our waistlines are the simple sugars that contribute (some researchers even assert that they cause) to obesity cases all over the world. Soda has especially been singled out. One landmark California study has found that people who consume a soda a day had a 27 percent more chance to grow obese or overweight.
Unfortunately, the highlight on the numerous health benefits of complex carbohydrates have led food manufacturers to jump in on the bandwagon. They label their grain products "enriched whole grain" even if whole grain is only a minor ingredient. You should look for one that specifically states "whole grain." Check the fiber content, too. One serving of whole grain should have at lest 3 grams of fiber.
Nothing beats the goodness of complex carbohydrates. Whether for weight loss or general health, they are, hands down, a far better alternative. So the next time you have to choose between buying a donut or getting a banana to snack on, don't hesitate on the latter. It's not only more nutritious, it's cheaper and has none of the preservatives added, too.