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Complex carbohydrates

Are you confused about complex carbohydrates - especially when some one throws in simple corbohydrate foods too...? Many people are, but fear not and read on, within a few minutes you will know everything you need to know to make smart choices when eating and what complex carbohydrates actually are.

Simple and complex carbohydrates are one of the three main components in our diets, the others being protein and fat. We use carbohydrates as our main fuel for everything from walking and running through to breathing and thinking. The difference between the two types is based on their chemical structure.

A complex carbohydrate is so-called because its fibre content remains intact. This means that its natural form has not been interfered with or changed in any way, or, if it has been processed, it is minimal. In contrast, many simple carbohydrates have been processed into a refined product.

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly. Although many simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals - for example honey, molasses, maple syrup and sugar - others, such as fruits, fruit juice, milk, and yogurt, are packed with other essential ingredients and are a valuable part of our diet.

Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are usually packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of slow-release blood sugar. Vegetables, breads, cereals, legumes and pasta are good examples. The best guide to what carbs you should or shouldn't eat is to look at how processed the food is - foods that are less processed will retain more of their natural nutrients, have less man-made ingredients, and be healthier.

In summary, the bulk of your carbohydrate choices should be complex carbs, while most of your simple carbohydrates should come from fruits and milk or yogurt. That way you'll get a steady release of energy, and the maximum quantity of essential vitamins and minerals.



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