Excellent Sources of Complex Carbohydrates

There are two types of carbs:

  • Simple carbs. This is basically nothing more than carbohydrates, with little to no fiber, vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants to complete the nutritional profile of the food. It’s just carbs, plain and simple.
  • Complex carbs. This is a form of carbs that comes with all those awesome nutrients your body needs. The amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants differs according to each food, but suffice it to say complex carbs have a much better nutritional profile.

Complex carbohydrate foods are basically those in wholegrain form such as wholegrain breads, oats, muesli and brown rice. But what makes them so much better?

Well, aside from their higher nutritional value, complex carbs are broken down into glucose more slowly than simple carbohydrates. All carbohydrates are broken down to glucose to produce the energy molecule ATP (adenosinetriphosphate). It takes your digestive system much longer to break down high-fiber, high-vitamin, high-mineral, and high-antioxidant foods, because it has to break each of the nutrients into individual particles. This means your body isn’t getting a rush of carbohydrates at once, which means less blood sugar (produced from carbs). Essentially, complex provide a gradual steady stream of energy throughout the day.

Natural carbs are also a better choice when losing weight on the GI diet plan. The fact that they’re not flooding your body with sugar means you have a much lower chance of high blood sugar, which reduces your risk of insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes. To stay healthy, complex carbs are definitely your best choice!

Simple, refined carbs found in many processed, convenient foods tend to be devoid of these natural nutrients. Not only does this mean the body breaks down those carbs and turns them into energy more quickly, but there is a higher chance the energy will be converted into fat and stored. This is often the case even if the calorie content of the simple carb is lower than the calories in the complex carbohydrate source. It’s due to their lack of OTHER nutrients that the body is able to break them down so quickly. Too much blood sugar all at once, and your body will respond by storing the excess—always in the form of fat. To put it simply: simple carbs = more body fat.

You may be thinking, “But that whole wheat bread has more calories than a slice of white bread! Why is that?”  Simple: nutrients! All nutrients have calories, and the higher nutritional content of the complex carbs (whole wheat bread, in this case) means the calorie count is higher as well.

The food list below shows natural complex carbohydrate foods from grains that are frequently used to produce food products or meals.

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Still, the best way to provide your diet with complex carbohydrates is to consume foods in their most natural state such as oatmeal, bran and brown rice.

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Still, the best way to provide your diet with complex carbohydrates is to consume foods in their most natural state such as oatmeal, bran and brown rice. Be aware though that while a product (like corn flakes cereals, for example) contains lots of complex carbs, high amounts of sugar and fats may be added. This makes the foods taste good, but essentially destroy the nutritional value.

And remember, just eating less isn’t the way to go. Weight loss progress often slows due to a lowered metabolism. Increase metabolism before cutting calories and very low calorie diets won’t be necessary.
No, to see serious weight loss, you need to eat at least some carbs. A good complex carbohydrate intake is essential to exercise effectively and make each workout more effective in losing body fat! Stop cutting carbs—just cut the BAD carbs!

USDA National Nutrient Database



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