Understanding the Difference Between Good and Bad Carbs

Anyone who is trying to lose weight or who is trying to achieve a higher level of fitness has heard that it is important to cut back on carbs.  Yet, many people do not actually know what carbs are, how the body uses them or even what kind of carbs should be cut out of their diets.  So, before you start cutting carbs out of your diet, you should keep a few things in mind.

What is a Carb?

First, you should understand what a carb actually is.  Put simply, a carb is a simple sugar molecule that is a source of energy.  Although carbs are often looked upon poorly, they actually are a good source of fuel and can be an important part of a weight training program or of a cardio workout.  In order to get the most out of your carbs, however, you need to know which ones are good for you and which ones you should stay away from.

What are Good Carbs?

Complex carbs, which are also referred to as unrefined carbs, are considered to be the “good” carbs.  These carbs help make you fuller when you eat them and are found in foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

What are Bad Carbs?

“Bad” carbs are the simple carbs that are found in processed foods.  These foods have the nutrition removed from them, which means that eating large amounts of simple carbs will leave you feeling unsatisfied.  In addition, it increases your insulin levels and leave your body trying to balance out your blood sugar levels.  This triggers your appetite and leads to overeating.  Some examples of bad carbs include:

  • · Cake
  • · Candy
  • · Cookies
  • · Fruit Juice
  • · Pastas
  • · Pies
  • · Soda
  • · White bread

It is important to remember that your body can only store a limited amount of fuel at a time.  Therefore, if you consume to many carbs, the extra “fuel” is turned into fat and leads to weight gain.  So, to keep the pounds off and to live a healthier lifestyle, it is important to cut out the bad carbs and to eat more of the good.  By sticking with natural, whole foods, you should have no problem getting the energy you need as well as the nutrition.