Bad Carbs vs Good Carbs: The Truth

carbs written on a chalk board

Like many of us, you may be confused over just how good carbs, bad carbs, or ANY carbs at all affect your weight and health. For instance, while one dieting approach may say, “Carbs aplenty, just keep ‘em complex!”, another will tell you the ONLY way to stay slim-and-trim is to avoid ALL carbs, period.

So, which is it—are all carbs the mortal enemy and to be avoided like the plague, or are only certain types of carbs wicked, and you just need to go with the right ones for good health?

Let’s find out!

What are Carbs?

Along with protein and fats, carbohydrates make up a group of compounds called “macronutrients,” or simply macros. Altogether, they are responsible for providing the building materials and energy your body needs, which is why they are the nutritional components you consume the most of.

Even though proteins and fats also contribute to your body’s energy needs, carbohydrates are made up of sugars and starches that break down into glucose, your body’s most significant energy source. Carbs also vary in complexity, and the longer the sugar molecule chain, the more complex the carb.

Greater complexity also reduces digestibility to the point of some carbs being virtually indigestible. For instance, soluble and insoluble fiber are both types of carbohydrates that are too complex for your body to digest, which is why they provide such efficient cleansing and bulking in your digestive tract.

On the other end of the spectrum are simple carbohydrates such as fructose which your body breaks down very rapidly.

Too rapidly, in fact.

For instance, unless you are in the act of working out very hard, fructose is converted to energy faster than your body uses it. This means your body needs to store the extra energy as—you guessed it—fat, which makes fructose bad.

However, the more complex the carbohydrate, the harder your digestive system has to work to break it down, which means energy becomes available at a slower rate. This is why more complex carbs provide steadier, more completely utilized energy than do simple ones. This is also why whole grains are preferred over refined flour which has been processed down to the grain’s most simple (short chain) starches and sugars, thus removing the benefits of the grain’s complex starches and fibers. 

Good Carbs? Bad Carbs? Oh My!

When it comes to which carbs are beneficial and which ones you need to avoid, there is only one you genuinely need to avoid, which we’ll cover in a bit.

In the meantime, let’s look at the factors which determine how your body utilizes carbs, and what kind you need the most or least of, which is determined by:

·       How active you are

·       Your genetic makeup

·       The type of physical activity you perform

For instance, if you are an endurance athlete such as a long-distance runner or cyclist, it makes sense to avoid the constant yo-yo effects of simple sugars in favor of slower burning, more complex carbs and fats. Not only can this remove the constant need to refuel with fast-burning sugars, it can save athletes the gastric distress which too much sugar can cause.

On the other hand, if your workouts involve high-intensity exercise such as weight training or interval training (HIIT), the readily available calories from simple carbs can give you the explosive energy you need to power your workouts.  However, moderation is still key when it comes to refined sugars, which are the simplest—AKA highest glycemic—form of carbohydrate. In fact, think of products containing added sugar as off-limits to your healthy diet—especially when the sugar is in the form of fructose.

Fructose: Bad, and Bad for You

Table sugar is made up of two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. While glucose is your body’s main energy source, fructose needs to be converted into glucose by your liver, which can then become overloaded to the point it has to convert fructose to fat rather than glucose.

Even worse, this can all lead to:

·       Insulin resistance

·       Fatty liver

·       Overeating, since it promotes rather than suppresses hunger hormones

·       Obesity

·       Diseases such as type II diabetes, heart attack, some cancers and stroke

So yes, avoiding fructose is a good thing whether you’re an athlete or not.

The Easy Way to Count Carbs

When it comes to removing the guesswork involved in counting macros, Eat Rite Foods has you covered. This is because the carbohydrate, protein, fat and calorie content is fully transparent on each of our meals, and from carb-heavy to keto, we have you covered.

Plus, with convenient delivery or pickup options, you never have to worry about finding the time to prepare wholesome, nutritious foods with no added sugar or fructose—just choose any of our delicious, chef-prepared meals from our ever-changing menu, place your order, and enjoy the convenient delivery or pick up!

And, you’ll not only like our prices, but we also offer volume discounts so that you can enjoy healthy, great-tasting food conveniently and without breaking the bank.

So, forget the confusion over counting good carbs, bad carbs or no carbs at all, since here at Eat Rite Foods, we have all your macro needs covered!


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