Eating Healthy! Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates are the most important source of fuel for your body; your body cannot run properly without them. Our bodies turn carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) which we then use for energy. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex carbs.
Simple carbohydrates, or “bad carbs” as they are sometimes referred to, are quickly digested and absorbed into our body. The energy is stored as glycogen in our cells, and if we don’t use that energy immediately, it gets converted into fat. Have you heard the term “sugar crash”? This is a rise and fall in blood sugar level which can leave you feeling tired. Bad carbohydrates are also high in calories and refined sugars, low in nutrients, low in fiber and often high in sodium and saturated and/or trans fats.
Bad carbs are usually found in processed foods that have been stripped of their natural nutrients. Here is a list of some bad carbs:
- Sugared cereals
- White rice
- Soda and sugary drinks
- White bread and pastas
- Refined sugars
Good carbs are also referred to as complex carbohydrates. Their chemical structure and fibers require our bodies to work harder to digest, so energy is released over a longer time. Good carbs are digested and absorbed into the body slower, and produce a steady rise in blood sugar. This also helps control your appetite and makes you feel full for longer. Good carbs are low to moderate
in calories, high in nutrients, high in fiber, low in sodium and saturated/trans fats, and they help lower LDL-bad cholesterol.
Typically, good carbs are found in food in their natural state, or close to it. Good carbs include:
- Whole grain breads and pastas
- Sweet potatoes
- Bran cereals
- Green vegetables
- Most fruit
- Brown rice
Be sensible about the carbs you choose. Consider the levels of sugar and fiber in carbs, and focus on healthy whole grains, fruits, and veggies to get the energy your body needs every day.
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