It’s unfortunate how carbohydrates get a bad rap. We tend to associate the carbohydrate with weight gain, a spike in glucose levels, and empty calories, when actually carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet, especially for active people. So there’s no reason to eliminate carbs from your diet completely.
What is the Difference Between Complex Carbohydrates and Simple Carbohydrates?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adults get about 45-65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates. But as we know, all carbohydrates are not created equally.
Many of us consume carbohydrates made from refined sugars and flours which can lead to a weight gain, cravings, and a spike in blood sugar. These are called simple carbohydrates (table sugar, corn syrup, pastries and other baked goods, white bread and white pasta, jams and jellies, fruit drinks and soft drinks, and candy).
On the other hand, complex carbs, such as whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, quinoa, beans and lentils, leave us satisfied and full.
How To Choose the Right Complex Carbohydrate
Now that you know the difference between simple carbs and complex ones, choosing the right complex carbohydrate is important and can be tedious at times. This is when you need to start looking at every food label. Look for less processed foods like whole grains, including farro, brown rice, quinoa, and millet, as opposed to higher processed whole grains such as some whole-wheat pastas and whole grain crackers.
5 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Carbs
- Carbohydrates Fill You Up
Many carb-filled foods act as appetite suppressors. Whole grains such as beans, lentils, farro, quinoa, and other whole grains have tons of protein and dietary fiber, which is an indigestible complex carbohydrate. These carbs are digested more slowly than simple carbs, triggering the sensation of being full.
2. Carbs Curb Your Hunger
Fiber and protein found in whole grains and other complex carbohydrates fill you up and satisfy you while curbing those simple carb cravings. These complex carbs raise levels of satiety hormones that tells the brain that you are satisfied and revving up your metabolism.
3. Carbs Control Blood Sugar Levels & Diabetes
Having a balanced diet rich in fiber, protein, fat and whole grains is the best way to control blood sugar and diabetes. Because of their high fiber content, complex carbs have a low glycemic index which helps lower blood glucose levels. Switch from white bread to 100% whole-wheat bread or from white rice to brown rice or quinoa for added protein. Since carbs are the body’s preferred energy source, and roughly half of your daily calorie intake should come from carbs, they are a healthy and important part of a nutritious diet.
4. Carbs Rev Your Metabolism and Blast Belly Fat
This goes back to incorporating complex carbs into your diet and eliminating simple ones. Since complex carbs like oatmeal and bran cereal are “slow-release” carbohydrates, they won’t spike your blood sugar like simple, refined carbs would. When whole grains are consumed, insulin levels don’t spike high because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat. And as Resistant Starch moves through your digestive systems, it released fatty acids that encourage fat burning, especially in the belly. These fatty acids can help preserve lean muscle, speeding up your metabolism, which can help you lose weight faster.
5. Carbohydrates Boost Your Mood
Do you get angry at the little things in life, and often? Your carb deprivation may be to blame. Carbs help to boost mood-regulating, stress-reducing chemicals in the brain. On the contrary, high-protein, high-fat diets have the opposite effect, depleting these chemicals.
Final Tips For A Complex Carb-Filled Diet:
- If you don’t understand the ingredients on the box, don’t purchase it or look them up online because some unfamiliar ingredients may be harmless preservatives or nutritional live active cultures that refer to the living organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus found in yogurt.
- Although complex carbs can be good for you, like any other food, they can lead to weight gain if consumed in large amounts. Always stick to portion control!