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What's the difference between simple carbs and complex carbohydrates?

July 28, 2020

What's the difference between simple carbs and complex carbohydrates?

Simple VS Complete Carbohydrates

By Maria England, ABS Team

One of the biggest concerns we have when it comes to our health is how much carbohydrates we are eating, especially high calorie carbohydrate foods. Identifying high calorie carbohydrates is important because these foods are normally simple carbohydrates instead of complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are usually high in sugar and they also do not contain many vitamins and minerals. It is important to not only cut down on how much simple carbohydrates we eat but we also need to replace them with complex carbohydrates. 

Complex carbohydrates are foods that are normally high in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals and they have complex structures. Complex carbohydrates are called this because they have complex structures and are normally high in fiber. These complex structures take time to break down in our bodies and slowly release vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars into our body. Examples of complex carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables. Since fruits and non-starchy vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories we call them nutrient dense foods. Simple carbohydrates are often times called calorie dense foods because they are normally low in nutrients and usually are high in calories.

Simple carbohydrates are foods that are normally high in sugar. They are broken down easily in our bodies and are absorbed much faster than complex carbohydrates. A sugary treat will be absorbed much faster than fruit, because the sugar is not trapped in a complex structure like natural fruit sugar. Simple carbohydrates are also often found in foods that are not nutrient dense, and are highly processed foods. Good examples of simple carbohydrates are candy, soda, and maple syrup. These items are not only easily absorbed in our bodies but they are also high in calories

In every gram of carbohydrate there are 4 calories. This does not differ for simple and complex carbohydrates, but usually simple carbohydrates are calorie dense. This is because it uses more sugar and is often mixed with other high calorie ingredients. Complex carbohydrates are typically nutrient dense, especially fruits and non-starchy vegetables because they are not only lower in calorie but also contain minerals and vitamins. Starchy vegetables are complex carbohydrates, but they are normally higher in calories. For example a ½ cup of non-starchy vegetables has only 5g of carbohydrates. Where as ¼ of a baked potato has only 15g of carbohydrates. Starchy vegetables do contain minerals and vitamins, but you have to make sure to limit the amount you eat since they are high in calories.

If you are looking to reduce how many carbohydrates you are eating, then ABS Pancakes is a great addition to your diet. They only contain 3-8g of carbohydrates per serving, which is 4 pancakes. They are also packed full of protein, iron, and calcium, which makes them a great low carbohydrate substitute and high nutrient food! 

Remember to pick healthier choices for carbohydrates; a good rule of thumb is to make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables and fruits and to choose non-starchy vegetables, and fruit, over sugary foods and starchy vegetables. Also remember that ABS Pancakes is a low carbohydrate food, which contains fiber and vitamins, which makes it a healthy substitute!

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