Good Carbs and Bad Carbs: Do You Know the Difference?

breadThere’s a lot of information out there about carbohydrates. Are they good for you? Are they bad for you? Should you eat them or do you need to avoid them in order be healthy? Well, it’s not a simple situation.

There are all kinds of carbs out there, and you need to incorporate carbs into your balanced diet, but the kind of carb you eat is important.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of carbs you should be including in your diet and the kind of carbs you should be avoiding.

Why Carbohydrates Matter

Opinions have been all over the map recently when it comes to carbs. Some diets say carbs are healthy for you, other prohibit them. The problem with eliminating carbs from your diet is that carbs are in nearly everything you eat, not just bread, rice and pasta. Other examples of carbs include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Milk and dairy
  • Juice
  • Candy and desserts – of course!

Are All Carbs Created Equal?

In short – no. There are two types of carbs you can eat: Simple carbs and complex carbs. Generally, simple carbs fall into the “bad” category. This is because they are digested quickly by your body and the energy from them is stored as glycogen in your cells. If it’s not used immediately then it turns to fat – and that’s generally something most people want to avoid. Simple carbs are carbs that are processed, which means they have been stripped of their nutrients and fiber to become more “consumer friendly.” Examples of simple carbs include:

  • Candy
  • Desserts
  • Sugared cereal
  • Sodas or other sugary drinks
  • Refined breads

Simple carbs are low in fiber, are full of empty calories and raise your glucose levels – which only makes you feel tired and sluggish.

Complex carbs are generally known as “good” carbs. Their chemical structure and fibers they contain mean that your body has to work harder to digest them. This means the energy from them is released over a longer period of time and therefore will not cause your blood sugar to spike or for the glycogen to sit around unused where it will be turned into fat. Good carbs are generally in a more natural state, which means they’ve not been processed within an inch of their lives. A few examples of good carbs are:

  • Whole grain breads
  • Bran cereals (without added sugar!)
  • Green vegetables
  • Fresh fruits (and frozen too!)

These carbs are good because they are:

  • High in fiber
  • Help you to feel fuller with less calories
  • Stimulate your metabolism naturally

You need carbs as part of a healthy and balanced diet, but you need to pay attention to the kind of carbs you eat in order to keep them healthy!

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This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.