Carbohydrates: The Good and the Bad

simple-and-complex-carbohydratesIn the typical “diet world” there is a high amount of controversy over carbohydrate consumption. People everywhere have jumped onto the low carb bandwagon believing that this nutrient is most likely to lead to fat gain occurring.

Additionally, they firmly believe that carbohydrates are the primary reasons for so many diseases today and for optimal health, they needed to be eliminated.

Although there is truth in those statements, most people continue to miss the key factor; it’s the type of carbohydrates you are consuming more than anything else that matters.

Eat the wrong types of carbs consistently and you’ll be rewarded with weight and health problems whereas consuming the right types of carbohydrates eliminates those worries.

It’s your job to time your carbohydrates properly and choose ideal sources.

Let’s examine the different types of carbohydrates that you’ll come across daily:

Complex Carbohydrates:

These carbohydrates are high energy and complex in structure (meaning they take more time to break down and digest in the body compared to other carbohydrate sources). You won’t experience energy highs and lows because these types of carbohydrates help to sustain stable blood glucose levels.

Because of their complex nature, they are higher in calories so you need be aware of the volume you are consuming.

Select the least processed options because they will be healthier for the body and slower to break down.

Some good examples are:

Oatmeal or buckwheat, brown and wild rice, Quinoa barley, millet, corn, maize; sweet potatoes and yams.

Simple Carbohydrates:

These are the villains you want to avoid at all costs because they are the ones that lead to dramatic blood glucose spikes followed by crashes. These are the ones that cause your insulin levels to shoot sky-high and really accelerate the process of stomach fat accumulation.

Eating these carbohydrates is like riding an energy roller coaster all day and these kinds of carbs calories add up incredibly fast…quicker than most complex carb sources.

Here’s examples we’re all too familiar with:




Baked Goods

Sugary cereals

Low-fat ice cream

White bread

Rice chips

Cereal bars


Packaged and processed snack foods


Fruit is also considered a simple carb but different…it’s going to supply your body with dietary fiber which is not only healthy but slows the release of carbohydrates and supplies a number of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Fruit is lower in calories and works well for anyone who is being careful about weight. Most fruits (their sugars are half fructose and half glucose and fructose is not stored in the muscle cells) are not perfect choices for after workout periods (better to place them at other times of the day) Bananas however are a great choice for post workouts because of their high starch content and lower fructose level they work great as a recovery fuel source.

Fibrous Carbohydrates:

These types of carbohydrates are found in vegetables and are also incredibly important your diet. Low in calories and carbohydrates they hardly have any influence on your blood glucose levels so you can eat them without worry. They contain dietary fiber that ensures you avoid all blood sugar spikes as well as helping to improve your overall health level by lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease and lowering your risk of certain forms of cancers.

The only time these kinds of carbs should be avoided is right before or after training sessions as they are quite bulky in volume and could cause intestinal cramping to occur, otherwise these fibrous carbohydrates should be eaten with most meals of the day.

Nearly all vegetables are labelled a fibrous carbohydrates but be aware that certain vegetables like carrots, peas, corn and of course potatoes (considered a complex carbohydrate) do contain more carbs and sugars so you’ll need to factor that into your intake.

For the most part, since your protein intake is relatively set and constant, you will adjust your dietary fats and carbohydrates around the protein component.

Assuming there is no training involved, you should be getting at least 100 grams of carbs per day as this is the minimum amount required for the brain to function optimally.

Something you need to keep in mind for calorie calculation purposes; proteins and carbohydrates each contain four calorie per gram while dietary fats contain nine. Knowing and remembering this will ensure you figure out your calculations properly.

Remember, “healthy is the new skinny”…”Rebound Free Weight Loss”….everything you need to know to stop the endless loop of failed dieting attempts…

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