Simple carbohydrates are also known as sugars. They also exist in either a natural or refined form.
Natural sugars are found in fruit and vegetables.
Refined sugars are found in: biscuits, cakes and pastries, chocolate, honey and jams, jellies, brown and white cane sugar, pizzas, prepared foods and sauces, soft drinks, sweets and snack bars.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPLEX AND SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES
All carbohydrates form glucose when digested. Glucose is transported around the body via blood and taken into cells to be converted into energy.
The slower the release of glucose and hormones, the more stable and sustainable the energy levels of the body.
The more refined the carbohydrate, the faster the glucose is released into your blood. This can cause peaks and drops in your blood sugar level and less stable energy levels in the body.
Complex carbohydrates provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than simple carbohydrates.
In their natural form they contribute to long-term good health, appetite control and sustained energy levels.
DO CARBS MAKE YOU FAT?
Eating too much will lead to weight gain, regardless of what foods you get your energy from. Yet while low carb diets have had much publicity, gram for gram carbohydrates contain less calories than fat, protein and alcohol:
1g carbohydrate contains 3.75 calories.
1g protein contains 4 calories.
1g fat contains 9 calories.
1g alcohol contains 7 calories.
Sugar and starch are found in both healthy and ‘unhealthy’ foods, so the type of carbohydrates you eat is important for your wellbeing.
Many foods high in sugar (cakes, pastries, chocolate) are also high in fat or prepared with fat (chips, roast potatoes, sandwiches).
Starchy foods, such as wholegrain bread, pasta etc, are rich in fibre, which is essential for digestive health and helps control appetite so you don’t feel hungry.
SOME EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY FOODS CONTAINING COMPLEX CARBS:
- Apricots, Dried
- Brown rice
- Brussels Sprouts
- Buckwheat bread
- Dill Pickles
- Garbanzo beans
- Kidney beans
- Multi-grain bread
- Navy beans
- Oat bran bread
- Oat bran cereal
- Pinto beans
- Root vegetables
- Skim milk
- Soy milk
- Split peas
- Sweet corn
- Turnip Greens
- Water Cress
- Whole Barley
- Whole meal spelt bread
- Wholegrain cereals
- Wholemeal breads
- Wild rice
- Yogurt, low fat
If you are trying to eliminate simple sugars and carbohydrates from your diet, but you don’t want to refer to a list all the time, here are some suggestions:
Read the labels.
If the label lists sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or “wheat” flour, they contain simple carbohydrates. If these ingredients are at the top of the list, they may contain mostly simple carbohydrates, and little else. They should be avoided.
Look for foods that have not been highly processed or refined.
Choose a piece of fruit instead of fruit juice, which is very high in naturally occurring simple sugars. Choose whole grain breads instead of white bread. Choose whole grain oatmeal instead of packaged cold cereals.
“The closer you get to nature, the closer you get to health.”
Simple carbohydrates, like sugar and corn syrup, are created in a factory – while complex carbohydrates in vegetables and whole grains are designed by nature, and help you maintain your health.