Carbohydrates: Simple vs. Complex


You may hear the term “COMPLEX” carbohydrates and “SIMPLE” carbohydrates, and you are thinking 🤔, what does that even mean.

Don’t look too far into this and make it confusing. Carbohydrates are made up of 3 components: Fiber, Starch and Sugar.

Fiber and starch alone are “COMPLEX” carbohydrates, while sugar is a “SIMPLE” carbohydrate.

Simple carbohydrates are high on the glycemic index, which means they are digested quickly and released into the bloodstream resulting in a spike in insulin and blood glucose. With the rise in glucose your body slows down the process of burning “fat for fuel” and continues to add glucose to fat and muscle cells, when this happens it also leaves you tired and feeling low on energy, it also tell your body you’ve been “fed” which uses that glucose to store it as fat.

This is why it is good for people to stay away from the simple carbs in most cases. Simple carbs are not always bad depending on “timing” though. A simple carb is good for immediate energy, but may cause that “crash” in your day, and some simple carbohydrates are also in some foods with some good complex carbohydrates as well, aka fruit and some milks. 🍉 🥛

Complex carbohydrates are the opposite and they are low on the glycemic index, which means they absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly. Usually these carbs make you feel satisfied throughout the day “no sugar crashes”, and are easily absorbed and digested. They will not lead to insulin spike, which leads to fat gains, and are much more nutritious with more vitamins, fibers, and minerals. You may not feel full or energetic right away after eating complex carbs in comparison to when consuming simple carbs.

Conclusion: Complex carbs seem to have many more benefits, but do not count out simple carbs in certain situations. When you workout, your body becomes depleted of glucose and glycogen stores, so eating that fast-digesting carbohydrates will increase that insulin response, which will drive glucose, aminos and proteins back into the muscle cells and help them recover. Be careful because you will also drive glucose into fat cells, just not as much post-workout because your muscles crave it more so.Inline image


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