Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients that your body requires for energy and for general wellbeing. Carbohydrates can be broadly classified into two broad categories, namely simple and complex carbohydrates. They are responsible for 45-65 % of energy production in our body, the lack of which may lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, poor mental functions and low immunity. Carbohydrates can be converted into glucose easily, a type of sugar which provides energy for the body instantly. People with low blood sugar levels are often prone to irritation, fatigue or frustration. To avoid any such condition, it is imperative that the body gets all the vital nutrients it needs, one of them being; carbohydrates. But then, an excess of carbs can upset the balance of your blood sugar levels and may result in mood fluctuations. Therefore, one must also limit the intake of carbohydrate-rich foods for a balanced diet. There are a variety of fruits, vegetables and other products rich in this nutrient but the content of carbs differs from one food item to another. Read further to explore more information about carbohydrate food types.
Carbohydrate Food Types
Simple carbohydrates, also known as simple sugars, consist of lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and several other sugars. Fruits are the richest source for simple carbohydrate consumption.
Out of the distinctive types of carbohydrates, the second carbohydrates food group basically represents complex carbohydrates, encompassing fiber and starches. Good examples of starchy foods are bread, pasta, rice etc. Opt for unprocessed or unrefined grains, as they are more nutritious, owing to the fact that they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. Complex Carbohydrates can be further divided into two categories—
This is made of long, composite chains of simple sugars which need to be broken down for the body to draw energy. However, starch does not take too long to breakdown and is therefore not that ‘complex’. On disintegration, it produces simple sugars which, many people may be sensitive to. In case of such individuals, the consumption of starch rich foods such as corn, bread, cereal, rice, beans, pasta, wheat, grains, potatoes, etc. must be minimal.
Dietary fiber does not release sugar upon its fragmentation and foods high in this nutrient are hard to digest. The body cannot disintegrate fiber that quickly slowing down the process of digestion and making it smooth. The energy (in the form of glucose) produced is also slow and gradual and the body is able to maintain proper blood glucose levels. Fiber also helps the body regulate cholesterol levels and promotes proper digestion.
Eating fiber-rich foods leads to appetite control and thus, helps an individual curb ‘overeating’. Rich sources of complex carbs are vegetables, whole grains, peas and beans. It is recommended to go in for slow digesting complex carbohydrate foods, as it keeps your blood sugar in control and also provides you energy for longer periods of time.
Simple & Complex Carbohydrates
The process of energy release in the case of complex carbohydrates is slower and consistent, which is essential for the body. On the other hand, simple carbohydrates are nothing but sugar and can be digested easily which in turn, increases the blood sugar levels rapidly. Blood absorbs simple sugars directly in the form of glucose providing instant energy to the body. The problem in the whole process is that a higher sugar concentration in the body can accumulate fat in the body, which if not used or burnt, can cause obesity or other health problems.
Complex carbohydrates are composed of long chains of sugar molecules, which as a result, takes longer to break down and more time to digest. The slow procedure supplies the body with smaller but constant doses of energy, during which, the body also more or less, burns the energy stored. Subsequently, the sugar which is converted to fat is not accumulated but burnt slowly even as it is being generated.
Foods Rich In Simple Carbohydrates