The Difference Between Simple and Complex Carbohydrates – You Need Good Carbs in Your Diet for Healthy Nutrition

Good Carbs Are the Foundation of a Balanced, Healthy Diet

Most of the calories in your diet should come from carbs. If you’re not very active, carbs should make up about half of the calories you eat each day. If you’re very active, they should make up about 60% of your daily calories.

Have you ever noticed that breads, cereal, rice, and pasta are on the bottom of the food pyramid? That’s because good carbs are what the rest of your diet should be built on.

Brains Crave Carbs

Your brain and nervous system prefer carbs as a fuel source. Eating enough of them is essential for cognitive function. If you have a test to take, need to pay close attention and focus on details, or need to maintain a good memory, it’s very important to keep good carbs in your diet.

Good Carbs Burn Bad Fat

You have probably heard the term, "complex carbohydrates", but do you know what it means? There are two types of carbs: simple and complex. Those words refer to how long it takes for your body to break them down and convert them into a form that is readily usable.

Simple (bad) carbs are quickly broken down and ready for use. This makes your blood sugar level spike fast and high, depending on how much you ate.

This is not a good thing for weight management and control of appetite. When you eat simple sugars (like white rice, white bread, candy, and soda), your blood sugar spikes quickly and dives back down quickly.

When your blood sugar is low, it sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to eat again. If that happens too fast, then you end up eating a lot more frequently than you should. That means you will eat too many calories in a day and gain weight.

However, when you eat complex (good) carbohydrates like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice, it takes longer for your body to break those sugars down which means you will be able to wait longer before your next meal.

Another good thing about complex carbs is the higher amounts of fiber they contain. Foods with fiber help you feel full and satisfied. That’s another thing that will help you wait longer to eat, eat fewer calories, and manage your weight.

A Carb a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Fiber plays other helpful roles such as contributing to the health of the other organs in your body like your colon. Some low-carb diets, like the Atkins diet, can encourage you to eat foods that aren’t good for heart health and cancer prevention. Those are two of the leading causes of death in the U.S. today.

Mmm, Mmm Good!

Most comfort foods have carbs in them. We love them and we feel good when we eat them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating something like dessert, macaroni and cheese, or anything else that tastes good. The key is learning to control how much of these foods are in your diet and how often you eat them.

You will not be able to stick to a diet that doesn’t include things that just plain taste good. The goal is to stick with your diet for life. Don’t completely avoid foods that taste great or you’re going to quit your plan, altogether which defeats the purpose of lifelong weight management.