Carbohydrates are, in fact, an important part of a balanced diet. You just need to be selective about the types of carbs you eat. Here are some guidelines to help you know which carbs are good for you and which ones you should avoid:
Simple or “bad” carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are easy for your body to breakdown. That should be good, right? Actually, it means these carbs deliver sugar to your bloodstream quickly. Simple carbs include white sugar and white flour-based foods. They breakdown quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. That’s why when you eat sugary foods like cookies, cupcakes or a candy bar, you get a rush of energy but then it drops quickly and may bring down your mood right along with it.
Here are some examples of bad carbs:
- Any foods made of refined carbohydrates like sugary cakes and cookies
- White bread and pasta
- White rice
- Bottled or canned fruits and juices
- Pop/soda and other sugary drinks
Complex or “good” carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates have complicated molecules that breakdown slowly. They deliver a steady supply of sugar to the bloodstream. As the sugar is delivered slowly to the cells, they can burn that energy more efficiently and your energy level and mood remains steady. These are also called good carbs.
Here are some examples of good or smart carbs:
- Fruits and vegetables (especially kale or dark, leafy lettuce)
- Beans (kidney and garbanzo)
- Seeds (sunflower and pumpkin)
- Nuts (almonds)
- Whole grains (millet, quinoa and buckwheat)
- Whole wheat bread and pasta
- Multi-grain cereal
- Oatmeal/oat bran
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes/yams
The best or “smart” carbohydrates
Smart carbohydrates refers to how your body processes the carb and uses it for energy. Glucose is the body’s main source for energy. When you get an extreme glucose surge from a sugary snack, it will lead to a stored fat deposit.
On the other hand, smart carbohydrates let you eat carbs without triggering the fat storing reaction. Smart carbs burn the energy at slower rate, so you give your body a steady source of fuel. You also don’t experience those highs and lows that you get with simple or “bad” carbs.
With smart carbs, you will get more satisfaction when you eat, your blood sugar will stay more level, and your body won’t be storing carbs as fat for later use.
When you eat smart carbs, your body is better at digesting them and using them as energy. You will naturally feel better and be more energized. So, add more smart carbs to your diet to help balance out your energy levels and feel healthier!