Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Complex carbohydrates are the most micronutrients-dense foods per calorie on the planet. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water. Most of the calories in a healthy diet should be coming from complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are much needed for our body as glucose is the primary fuel for the brain and muscles.
Not all carbohydrates are the same. Simple carbohydrates are easy to overeat and get processed in our body quickly, which can lead to overeating which then can lead to weight gain. However, complex carbs don’t work the same way. The high fiber content in complex carbs keeps you full for longer, slows down digestion as well as slows the absorption of natural sugars.
Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables have all been associated with longevity and disease prevention. Studies have shown that limiting carbohydrates can be harmful to your health, increasing the risk of death from heart disease.
Often we take very healthy complex carbs and turn them into highly processed unhealthy foods. Often we end up adding unhealthy fats like butter and processed oils and/or refined sugars. The original food which was health promoting becomes a product that increases risks for inflammation in our body, weight gain and other health problems. Let’s take potatoes for example. They are not high in calories, have fiber and protein, and have insignificant amount of fat. They are also good source of various nutrients like vitamin C, B6, and potassium. Now let’s compare them with french fries. They are often referred to as carbs, but french fries have more calories from fat than carbs! They are double in calories for the same quantity compared to a baked potato. With all the sodium and oil added, they become highly inflammatory and addictive and increase risks for weight gain and disease. Hence, it is important to choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates.
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