Know the Difference Between Simple and Complex Carbs


Woman Examining Good and Bad Carbs

When it comes to carbohydrates, the KISS principle doesn't apply. Simple carbohydrates can sabotage your weight loss efforts. For successful weight loss and best health, the Metabolic Research Center recommends you focus on complex carbohydrates instead.

Simple carbohydrates got the name because they are made of just one or two sugar molecules. Rapidly digested, they are a quick source of energy. Unfortunately, they can also cause blood sugar swings, and a diet high in simple carbs is more likely to contribute to obesity. Many simple carbs — think table sugar and corn syrup — have no nutritional value.

Complex carbohydrates are starchy molecules. As the name implies, they are more complex and contain more molecules than simple carbohydrates. They are found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables and provide fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Because complex carbs contain fiber, they digest more slowly, fueling the body over a longer period of time and helping to keep blood sugar stable. Complex carbs also help you feel full, which decreases the desire to overeat.

To improve your diet in a healthy way, start by choosing whole rather than processed foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables — especially leafy greens like kale, chard, collards and lettuce — offer healthy fiber, as do whole grains. Fresh and dried beans and peas are another good source of complex carbohydrates. Dried legumes are particularly high in fiber. Round out your complex carbs with starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and pumpkin.

Real foods make a difference when you're trying to lose weight. Not only are they often much more nutritious than processed foods or special diets, they are frequently less expensive. Your MRC counselor can help you choose the right kind of carbohydrates to lose weight and stay healthy. Call us today.

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