Complex carbs are an important part of a balanced diet.
In the past few decades, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in popular culture. Low-carb diets like Atkins have convinced the world that the key to losing weight is cutting carbs. While this is a strategy that technically works, it’s not really a good long-term solution to losing weight and keeping it off forever. The simple fact is, your body needs carbs to synthesize energy, maintain blood sugar, and aid in digestion.
The key to understanding carbohydrates is to know that there are two different kinds: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates (monosaccharides and disaccharides) contain 1-2 units of sugar. Examples of this are glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, and lactose. These simple carbs do create energy, but they are quickly absorbed into the body, causing an increase in blood sugar, and release of insulin. These simple carbs are contained in some dairy products and fruits, but also in sugary soft drinks, candy, soda, and baked goods.
Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) like starch, glycogen, and fiber aren’t so easily broken down and absorbed into your system, thus the blood sugar increase is more gradual, and doesn’t cause a ‘crash’ in energy. Complex carbs like fiber also help aid the digestive system by promoting healthy gut bacteria and keeping bowel movements regular so you can maintain your weight. People who tend to choose complex carbs over simple are also at a lower risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer.
So the moral of the story is, the less simple carbs you ingest, the better. Here is a list of 16 complex carbs to add to your diet today!
Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, and Oranges.
Starches: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Beets
Fiber: Lentils, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Pinto Beans
Grains: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Farro, Oats
Add these into your diet to promote both long term weight loss, and a boost in energy.