Do you know the difference between good and bad carbohydrates? Knowing the difference is important to maintain a healthy diet as an increased intake of the bad carbohydrates can contribute to chronic health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
The Good: Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates turn into glucose (sugar) in your body to provide the energy you need. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends you get 45-65% of your daily calories from carbs. But not just any kind – you need complex carbohydrates, the kind found in whole grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits. These types of foods are high in fiber, that is ideal for you, and take longer to digest. Therefore, they give you longer lasting energy and more nutrients.
Some excellent sources of complex carbs include:
- Brown rice
- Whole grains
- Whole wheat pasta
- Wheat bread
- Fruits including apples, bananas, and oranges
- Potatoes (and sweet potatoes)
The Bad: Simple Carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are sugars in their simplest forms. The kind found in candy, cookies, soda, cakes, and lots of processed food. They usually come in the form of refined sugars like white, brown, high fructose corn syrup, and many others. Simple carbs are the quickest source of energy because they digest quickly. However, the energy does not last long, learn about five ways to reduce your sugar consumption.
Also, some complex carbohydrates contain high amounts of simple carbs. This applies to fruit. That is why an apple can be so sweet for example. However, since you are also getting much of fiber with the fruit, your body treats it more like a complex carbohydrate.