What Are Carbohydrates?

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But what are carbohydrates and why are they getting so much press? You might think carbohydrates are nothing more than a nasty thirteen-letter word that causes love handles, but carbs are a necessary nutrient -in moderation. And in all honesty, it is very hard to turn a corner and not find a carb; they’re everywhere: fruits, vegetables, breads, beverages, everywhere.

Healthy, unrefined carbs are found in fruits, vegetables and grain and provide calories, and energy, to the body. Refined carbohydrates are the nasties that give the carbohydrate family a bad name. These foods may start off as natural, but lose all their positive values once they’re processed and altered with chemicals and additives (processed white flour, crackers, etc.)

Are All Carbs Created Equal?

The answer to that is not always simple, in fact, at times it can be complex. There are two categories of carbs: simple (sugary foods and fruits), and complex (potatoes or vegetables.) Simple carbs are nothing more than sugar, while complex, beneficial plant-derived carbs are packed with vitamins and nutrients which the body needs. These two groups can further be broken down into three sub-types: sugars, starches, and fibers.

Simple Carbohydrates

Sugars can be found in sugary foods, fruits, even in milk. If you must consume a simple carb do it after working out, when the body can use the energy to start the repair process. Common simple carbs are found in maple syrup, cookies, table sugar, candy, honey, and some fruit juices.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are actually multiple chains of simple carbohydrates, so they take longer to digest. Complex carbs are often called starches, as they are found in corn, rice, seeds, potatoes, wheat and grains.

Indigestible Carbohydrates Fiber is not a nutrient and differs from sugars and starches because it bypasses digestion and acts as an aide to the intestines. Insoluble fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and flax seeds. Soluble fiber can be found in citrus fruits, vegetables and oats.

Net Carbs

A net carb means you subtract the grams of fiber in a food from the number of rbs. This is because fiber is a “good carb” and does affect blood sugar levels. Remember, is basically has a free pass to the intestines.


J Reilley has been writing for the internet for nearly 7 years. Visit her latest website for tonnes of information on Bamboo Window Shades.

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