There are all kinds of diets that focus on cutting down on carbohydrate intake in order to lose weight and shed fat. Perhaps the most extreme of these is the ketogenic diet (similar to Atkins), which sets a strict limit of around 20-25 carbs per day. Unfortunately, many people who avoid carbs don't realize that not all carbs are bad. In fact, there are "good" carbs and there are "bad" carbs. What you need to understand is that you need to work on avoiding the bad carbs and replacing them with the good ones.
WHAT ARE SIMPLE CARBS? (Bad)
Simple carbs are those that come primarily from sugars. Some of these occur naturally (such as those found in dairy milk), but the majority of the simple carbs found in our foods come in the form of added sugars, corn syrup, and glucose. These are the types of carbs that you should generally avoid because they consist of the most basic sugars that are the easiest for the body to digest. As a result, they don't keep you feeling full for very long, which can result in increased calories.
Here are some examples of foods with high simple carb content:
WHAT ARE COMPLEX CARBS? (good)
Complex carbs differ from simple carbs primarily in the sense that they're comprised mostly of fiber rather than sugar. Fiber is much more difficult for the body to digest and takes longer to do so, which means that foods that are complex carbs tend to keep you feeling fuller for longer. This is great for those who are looking to lose weight without feeling like they're starving themselves in the process. Fiber can also provide a nice energy boost to the body, so foods with complex carbs make for great middle-of-the-day snacks to help you avoid that afternoon crash.
Some examples of foods with high complex carbs content:
HOW TO AVOID THE BAD STUFF
Even when you understand the difference between simple and complex carbs, making the right food choices isn't always easy—especially when you consider the fact that nutrition labels don't differentiate between the two. When you're shopping at the grocery store, then, how can you be sure to load up your cart with complex carbs as opposed to simple carbs?
It's actually quite simple! Pay attention to the ingredients and not only the nutrition facts. Foods that are higher in fiber most likely contain complex carbs, whereas those with higher sugar content (or with any "added" sugars) should probably be avoided because they contain simple carbs.
Of course, everything is in moderation. From time to time, it's not the end of the world if you indulge in a food with simple carbs. Just get right back on the wagon, and make complex carbs part of your signature meals.
TIPS FOR EATING MORE COMPLEX CARBS AND LESS SIMPLE CARBS
Getting enough complex carbs in one's diet isn't always easy, but here are many ways to do it. One of the easiest ways is to substitute your regular white breads, pastas and rice for whole grain version. So when you’re shopping at the grocery store avoid putting them into your grocery cart. The taste isn't much different and it makes a huge difference in your health. Increasing your intake of leafy greens is also a great way to boost your complex carb intake without adding a lot of calories in the process.
The differences between simple and complex carbs are numerous and by substituting with complex carbs, it's simply easier to achieve your fitness goals more quickly.
I'm Natatia Gemmell.