Many health experts recommend cutting down or eliminating sugar and other simple carbohydrates, and increasing the servings of complex carbohydrates in the diet.
Carbohydrates are necessary to your health, because every cell in your body uses them for energy. In fact, your brain can only use carbohydrates for energy.
Unfortunately, over-consumption of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other highly refined carbohydrates has been associated with a higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even breast cancer. And eating refined carbs can, over time, result in almost uncontrollable sugar cravings.
According to the World Health Organization, sugars and other simple carbohydrates are a leading factor in the worldwide obesity epidemic.
With the popularity of low-carb diets, many people are afraid to eat any carbohydrates, but it is important to distinguish between the health-robbing effects of simple sugars and other carbs, and the health-giving properties of complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are high-fiber foods, which improve your digestion. They help stabilize the blood sugar, keep your energy at an even level, and help you feel satisfied longer after your meal.
In contrast, sugar and other simple carbohydrates can alter your mood, lead to cravings and compulsive eating, cause wide swings in your blood-sugar levels, and cause weight gain in most people. In addition, a high consumption of sugar can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you finally decide to improve your diet and forgo the sweets.
Examples: simple and complex carbohydrates
Some examples of healthy foods containing complex carbohydrates:
|Water Cress||Oat bran bread||Apricots, Dried|
|Asparagus||Oat bran cereal||Plums|
|Dill Pickles||Yogurt, low fat||Soybeans|
|Broccoli||Navy beans||Garbanzo beans|
|Brussels Sprouts||Cauliflower||Kidney beans|
|Onions||Whole meal spelt bread||Split peas|
Some examples of foods containing simple carbohydrates:
Simple carbohydrates are more refined, are usually found in foods with fewer nutrients, and tend to be less satisfying and more fattening.
|Bread made with white flour|
|Pasta made with white flour|
|Soda pop, such as Coke®, Pepsi®, Mountain Dew®, etc.|
|All baked goods made with white flour|
|Most packaged cereals|
If you are trying to eliminate simple sugars and carbohydrates from your diet, but you don’t want to refer to a list all the time, here are some suggestions:
Read the labels. If the label lists sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or “wheat” flour, they contain simple carbohydrates. If these ingredients are at the top of the list, they may contain mostly simple carbohydrates, and little else. They should be avoided.
Look for foods that have not been highly processed or refined. Choose a piece of fruit instead of fruit juice, which is very high in naturally occurring simple sugars. Choose whole grain breads instead of white bread. Choose whole grain oatmeal instead of packaged cold cereals.
The closer you get to nature, the closer you get to health.
Simple carbohydrates, like sugar and corn syrup, are created in a factory – while complex carbohydrates in vegetables and whole grains are designed by nature, and help you maintain your health.