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Complex (GOOD) vs Simple (BAD) Carbohydrates

carbs                                COMPLEX VS SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES

Many health experts recommend cutting down or eliminating sugar and other simple carbohydrates, and increasing the servings of complex carbohydrates in the diet.

Carbohydrates are necessary to your health, because every cell in your body uses them for energy.  Carbohydrates are the fuel for exercise and help organs function properly. Complex carbohydrates contain more than three sugars and provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Daily caloric intake should consist of 40 to 60 percent carbohydrates, and at least half of these should come from complex carbohydrates. Up your intake of whole grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, snacks and whole grain cereals to make sure you are meeting your body’s needs.

Unfortunately, over-consumption of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other highly refined carbohydrates has been associated with a higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even breast cancer.  And eating refined carbs can, over time, result in almost uncontrollable sugar cravings (I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT).  It has been stated by MANY Health Organizations, sugars and other simple carbohydrates are a leading factor in the worldwide obesity epidemic which totally makes sense!

With the popularity of low-carb diets, many people are afraid to eat any carbohydrates, but it is important to distinguish between the health-robbing effects of simple sugars and other carbs, and the health-giving properties of complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates are high-fiber foods, which improve your digestion. They help stabilize the blood sugar, keep your energy at an even level, and help you feel satisfied longer after your meal.  These carbohydrates reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, help regularity and contribute to weight management. Complex carbohydrates help lower blood cholesterol, maintain a healthy immune system and provide minerals and vitamins that contribute to bone growth and a healthy nervous system. Complex carbohydrates contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, magnesium and selenium.

In contrast, sugar and other simple carbohydrates can alter your mood, lead to cravings and compulsive eating, cause wide swings in your blood-sugar levels, and cause weight gain in most people. In addition, a high consumption of sugar can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you finally decide to improve your diet and forgo the sweets.  I personally cannot (welll…SHOULD NOT) have sugar because it seriously gives me a headache and since trying to remove it from my diet completely I have discovered that when I DO have it, it makes me MEAN.

Examples of healthy foods containing complex carbohydrates:  THESE ARE GOOD!

Spinach Whole Barley Grapefruit
Turnip Greens Buckwheat Apples
Lettuce Buckwheat   bread Prunes
Water Cress Oat bran   bread Apricots,   Dried
Zucchini Oatmeal Pears
Asparagus Oat bran   cereal Plums
Artichokes Museli Strawberries
Okra Wild rice Oranges
Cabbage Brown rice Yams/Sweet potatoes
Celery Multi-grain bread Carrots
Cucumbers Pinto beans Potatoes
Dill Pickles Yogurt, low fat Soybeans
Radishes Skim milk Lentils
Broccoli Navy beans Garbanzo   beans
Brussels Sprouts Cauliflower Kidney beans
Eggplant Soy milk Lentils
Onions Whole meal spelt bread Split peas
     


E
xamples of foods containing simple carbohydrates:  THESE ARE BAD!

Simple carbohydrates are more refined, are usually found in foods with fewer nutrients, and tend to be less satisfying and more fattening.

Table sugar
Corn syrup
Prepackaged/processed snacks
Candy
Cake
 Pie
 Fruit juice
 Soft drinks (coke, pepsi, etc)
 Any white pasta
 Any white flour
MOST packaged cereals

Learn to 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.

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.  I’ve seen/heard it said, “Get close to nature, get close to health”


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