What are carbohydrates? This question never goes out of style. The simplest way to understand carbohydrates is to break down what they do for us. Our bodies break down carbohydrates in order to make glucose. Glucose is a sugar that our body uses to give us energy. Carbohydrates generally provide us with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
What Are the Different Kinds of Carbohydrates?
There are two kinds of carbohydrates: simple and complex. We get our simple carbohydrates from foods such as milk, milk products, fruit, table sugar or even a lollipop. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, come from starches like cereal, bread, beans, potatoes, and starchy vegetables.
What Are “Good” and “Bad” Carbs?
The term “good” carbs refer to fiber rich carbohydrates, like those found in many complex carbohydrates. Good carbs are absorbed into our systems more slowly, which helps us avoid escalations in blood pressure. The nutritional value of good carbohydrates offers our bodies more energy to burn so that we can keep our bodies going. Examples of good carbs are whole grain and whole wheat cereals and breads. Many fruits and vegetables are also considered good carbs.
When you hear someone refer to “bad” carbs, they are generally talking about simple carbohydrates. Bad carbs are foods that are refined or processed, such as white rice or white bread. These bad carbs should be avoided because they offer little to no nutritional value, while adding way too many calories to our diet; making them “empty” calories. Empty calories contribute to excessive weight gain and other associated health risks.