How To Know The Difference – Good Carbs Versus Bad Carbs

By Subodh / September 27, 2015

The competition between high carbohydrate diet and high protein diet is an ongoing one. The winner keeps changing with every study and hence, science is yet to give us a final result. But when you take a closer look at these studies, you would realize that the actual contenders are the good carbs and the bad carbs. Who are they and what are the differences? Well, let us take a look in detail!

The Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are not bad. In fact, they are quintessential elements of the diet that are essential to ensure that your energy levels do not crash by the end of the day. The ingredients of these food groups are slightly complex in nature and hence the existence of good and bad carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates

The Good Vs. Bad

In simple words, the bad carbs are simple and the good carbs are complex. The distinction between the two groups arise from their chemical constitution and the way your body reacts with these. Complex carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules with long chain due to which the breaking down process is slower. This is one the reasons why these carb variants give you energy. Some of the good carbs include whole grains and legumes.

When compared to these variants, the simple ones contain pretty shorter chain of sugar molecules. They are broken down in no time and hence pave way for an instant spike in energy levels. Cakes and cookies, sugar, and refined flour are ideal examples of the bad carbs.

So that means some carbohydrates are fabulously good while others harm you badly. So are these the only way to distinguish between the two? Well, there is a whole lot of studies that have been conducted with varying options offered to differentiate the two. From glycemic index to metabolic rates and others, there are numerous things that exist only to add up to your confusion.

In simple words, it could be considered that real food or the food that come to you from the earth directly and has not undergone any processing can be considered as the good carbohydrates. Whole oranges, grains, brown rice, whole wheat, strawberries, and oats are some of the classical examples of good carbohydrates.

The bad carbs are those which that are modified from these natural sources. The orange juice that you pour into your glass from the tetra pack, the bagels, fruits loops, corn flakes, cakes, biscuits, cookies, and what not… All these are stripped of the natural nutrients and fibers; they are they packed with generous amounts of added salt, sugar, and calories.

The lesser the processed and refined your carbohydrates are, the healthier and better they are. So, stay clear of these processed carbs or those that you pick from your departmental store.

A tasty and healthy meal rich in the good carbohydrates would comprise whole grain bread packed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. While the ones made up of simple carbohydrates would a simple white bread sandwich packed with cheese and ketchup.

The Good Carbohydrates

brown rice

They are available in varied forms. The fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains like barley, oats, whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet, and couscous, veggies such as yams, corn, and potato, and legumes like peas and beans are classic examples of good carbs.

All these carbohydrates are:

  • Moderately dense in calories that implies that you will not overdo the calories, yet will full and satisfied
  • Packed densely with nutrients
  • Is free from refined sugars
  • Devoid of high fructose corn syrup
  • Rich in fiber that is good for your health
  • Low in sodium
  • Low in saturated fat.
  • Free from trans fats
  • Negligible levels or free from cholesterol

That looks like a really tempting list!
So what about the bad carbohydrates? Read on…

The Bad Carbohydrates

Watermelon Muffins

You eat them every day in the form of your favorite butter bread, cakes, muffins, cookies, and not to forget those cans of juices that you drink. These simple carbohydrates are

  • Fake and processed
  • Are calorie dense, yet leave you hungry and non-satiated
  • Packed with refined sugar in high quantities
  • Contains high fructose corn syrup
  • Contains refined ingredients
  • Devoid of nutrients
  • Low or nil in terms of fiber
  • Packed densely with sodium
  • Sources of saturated fats
  • Sources of trans fats
  • Sources of cholesterol

These points above showcase the scary facts of simple carbohydrates.
The conclusion: Indulging in a diet rich in the good carbohydrates will give you a slim, lean body with optimal health.

The Scientific Support

Numerous studies and researches have been conducted on carbs and their impact on your health. One of the most interesting ones was conducted on the natives of Hawaii, who have a reputation for their beefy built. During the 90s, researchers did a study on a set of obese Hawaiians. These people were assessed with multiple risks including cardiovascular conditions.

The people were put on the native diet that comprised of yams, taros, fresh veggies, and fruits for 21 days. At the end of 21 days, the levels of glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol were noted down. The results were really amazing. All these markers should a massive dip. There was a dip in the levels of high blood pressure too.

These people who were allowed to indulge in the food in unrestricted amounts, but it was noticed that they net intake dipped by 41%. They had also lost 17 pounds on an average in these three weeks.

The Bottom Line

Carbohydrates are good. Be sensible while choosing them. And, now that you know the differences between the two, you could easily choose the right ones! Swap in the good ones wherever you can and enjoy tastier delights for a healthier and more energetic you!