Last week we talked about the difference between macro and micronutrients. One of the three macronutrients is carbohydrates. Some people think carbs are bad and should be avoided to lose weight. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Carbohydrates are very important – they are the body’s most easily accessible source of energy and are broken up into glycogen (used by muscles and your liver) and glucose (used by the brain).

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two separate categories: simple and complex carbohydrates.

🍩🍓Simple Carbohydrates – Simple carbohydrates are often called simple sugars and can be divided into natural or refined sugars. They raise blood glucose levels much quicker compared to complex carbohydrates.

🥛🍪 Foods like biscuits contain refined sugars. However, you will also find simple sugars in the form of natural sugars in more nutritious foods, such as fruit and milk. It is healthier to get your simple sugars from foods like these. Why? Because sugar is not added to them and they also contain vitamins, fibre, and important nutrients like calcium. A biscuit has lots of added sugar and does not contain important nutrients.

🍠🥦 Complex Carbohydrates – Complex carbohydrates can be divided into starchy or fibrous carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and thus, provide a slower and more sustained release of energy compared to simple carbohydrates.

🍚🥔 Starches include potatoes, beans and grain products, such as pasta and rice. As with simple sugars, some complex carbohydrate foods are better choices than others. Refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, have been processed, which removes nutrients and fibre. Unrefined grains (wholemeal pasta/wholemeal bread) still contain these vitamins and minerals and would be the healthier option.

🥕🍄 Fibrous carbohydrates include vegetables and wholegrain foods. Fibre is an indigestible form of carbohydrate. Since humans cannot break down fibre, it passes through the digestive system whole and takes other waste products along with it.

Let us know in the comments below how this helped you.

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