Carbohydrates or carbs are the food group that is mainly responsible for providing the body the energy it needs. Like gasoline to cars, carbohydrates serve as the body’s fuel for its activities.
However, because of the changes in food production and consumption, what is originally good sources of nutrients, have also become the reverse. Are carbohydrates bad or good? Let’s find out.
The Two Categories
Carbohydrates are of two basic categories. One is simple carbohydrates, and the other is complex carbohydrates. Let us examine these two to discover which is good and which is bad.
Simple carbs provide the body with immediate energy since they are easier to digest. You can source this type of carb from sugar, white breads, processed food, and refined food.
You will find that health enthusiast will often refer to this category as the bad carbohydrates. This is because the food belonging to this category has little to no nutritional value, and will only supply the body with empty calories. Therefore, it is advisable to limit your intake of food loaded with simple carbohydrates to prevent accumulation of excess weight.
Different Kinds of Simple Carbohydrates:
- Glucose – is the basic energy source of the body and the major type of simple carbohydrates. You can source this from food and some from your own body when your digestive system breaks down other food. If the level of glucose is inadequate, it affects brain development. On the other hand, too much of this sugar can lead to diabetes and excessive weight gain. You will find excess glucose from processed food.
- Fructose – is a simple monosaccharide you can find mostly from fruits, hence, its popular label as fruit sugar. However, you also have to understand that while fruits are sources of this kind of carbs, they contain the normal amount. It is during the processing of fruits, e.g. corn into corn syrup, that turn fructose into a dangerous sugar. Fructose in unrestrictive amount can result with uncontrolled weight gain and high blood pressure. It can trigger obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Sucrose – is what you also refer to as table sugar. You will find this as an ingredient in cakes, beverages, and ice creams to name some. With unrestricted consumption of food rich in sucrose, you will experience its adverse effects such as high blood pressure, tooth decay, resistance to insulin leading to diabetes, yeast infections, and coronary artery diseases.
- Maltose: Usually found in grains, this type of simple carbs are also known as malt sugar
- Lactose: This is the main carbohydrate contained in milk and is commonly referred to as milk sugar.
Understand that the types mentioned above belong to the simple carbohydrate category. It is better to consume them in moderation or in minimal amount to avoid their adverse effects on the body.
Meanwhile, complex carbs are the good carbohydrates. They may take longer for your digestive system to break, but they are full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They are also the category that supplies your body with long-lasting energy. Examples of food rich in complex carbohydrates are vegetables and whole grains.
- Starch: When ingested, it is broken down into simple forms of sugar or glucose for the body to use. Starch is a good source of sustained energy for the body. Plant foods such as seeds, beans and tubers are rich sources of starch.
- Dietary Fiber: This is primarily contained in plant cells. It does not completely break down in the body because of its tough and stringy nature. It helps regulate the body. Dietary Fiber found in plant cells. Because it is tough and stringy, it does not break down completely in the body. Fiber is essential for regulating the body. It is the non-digestible part of plants.
Here are popular food items that are good sources of healthy carbohydrates:
- Vegetables (all kind)
- Fruit (limit quantity if trying to lose fat, because they contain a good amount of sugars)
- Red skin Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain Breads
On the other hand, here are some food items with unhealthy carbs:
- White Pasta
- While Rice
- White Bread
- Boxed Fruit Juices
- Sweets and Candies
- Processes Breakfast Cereals
- Fried Potatoes
Carbs are essential for sustaining the body for your daily activities; you just have to be aware of which ones to eat. While avoiding bad carbs, take good carbs depending on your lifestyle, body type and fitness goals (such as weight loss or muscle building).
This is really helpful.