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Simple vs Complex Carbohydrates

Love 'em or hate 'em CARBOHYDRATES are the worlds most accessible macronutrients and arguably the tastiest too 😋 but can we make better choices? Usually the answer is YES and it starts with understanding the different types…

Types Of Carbohydrates

Structurally speaking, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates are smaller, more easily processed molecules known as mono- and disaccharides since they contain either one sugar molecule or two sugar molecules linked together.

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are called polysaccharides since they have more than two sugar groups linked together and take longer for body to process.

Each subtype of carbohydrate has different effects in the human body depending on its structure and its food source, which affect things like:

  • How quickly and/or easily the carbohydrate molecule is digested and absorbed

  • Which other nutrients are provided along with the carbohydrate source; for example, fat and protein slow down the digestion and/or absorption

  • Our perceptions of the carbohydrates’ texture and sweetness

  • Enzyme action in the mouth and gut

KEY POINTS: Simple carbohydrates such as white bread, pastries, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals, are absorbed by the body very quickly and are easy to over consume, leading to elevations in blood sugar levels, body fat stores, and insulin resistance. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, take longer for body to digest and therefore much harder to over consume which helps to control insulin response, energy levels, and body composition.

Which type do you tend to go for most often?

If you are prone to over-eating “Simple Carbohydrates” like myself and most of the western world it could be a great opportunity to UP YOUR COMPLEX consumption to control energy levels and minimise weight gain.

REMEMBER: All carbs can be “good” if eaten appropriately.

It’s always about balance ;)

Hope it helps!


your Personal Trainer / Simple Human



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