Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: complex and simple. Complex carbs are often loaded with fiber and many nutrients that promote health. Recommended complex carbs include green vegetables, rice, potatoes, oats, quinoa, pumpkin, squash, beans, and lentils. Simple carbs are comprised of mostly sugar. Examples of simple carbs are table sugar, honey, fruit, candy, and most processed foods that come in a box. Most of these types of carbs offer zero nutritional benefits. It is highly recommended to steer clear of simple carbs and focus on consuming complex carbs.
Carbohydrates play a major role in the way your body looks, feels, and performs. Physiologically, your body breaks all carbs down into sugar and expels them into your bloodstream as insulin. Your goal should be to consistently fuel your body throughout the day while keeping your blood sugar levels under control. When insulin is released into your bloodstream, it signals your body to store fat. It’s basically telling your body that it has enough energy in the bloodstream and it can go into energy storage mode, basically storing as fat.
Complex carbs break down slowly and will give you consistent energy, like an eyedropper that gradually adds sugar to your blood stream. Simple sugars break down quickly like a bucket of sugar being dumped into your blood stream. Slowly adding sugar to your blood stream will allow you to metabolize sugars without storing them as fat. When you quickly add sugars to your bloodstream, you will have an overflow of sugar that your body won’t be able to utilize immediately, so it will be forced to store the excess as fat. You will have immediate energy followed by a crash shortly after.
Utilizing the cleanest versions of carbs is the most efficient way to “cleanse” your body of toxins that are caused from processed/simple carbs. Clean carbs also lower internal inflammation and irritation. They are also lower on the glycemic index, so you will be less likely to store fat. Carbs lower on the glycemic index will digest slower offering more controlled energy throughout the day keeping you satisfied longer.
Fruit is one of the most commonly ingested forms of sugar that have been confused with a “healthy” snack. Although some sources contain great amounts of fiber, it is still sugar in a natural state. You do not need to completely give up fruit, but you should minimize your consumption. Limit yourself to ingesting fruit in the morning or after a workout. These are the two times throughout the day that insulin levels are in a depleted state.