Carbs: Simple & Complex. What's the difference?
What purpose, effect, and benefit (if any) does each have on your body?
Info on carbs, simple and complex is common knowledge; it's all over the internet. It took me a minute to understand the difference and how each functions within my body and their effects.
I did an experiment by accident and actually discovered how my body responded to each type of carb.
It helped me to get a clearer understanding of how both simple and complex carbs made my body "behave" overtly, from which I garnered an immediate response to help me 1) remember the difference between simple and complex carbs, and 2) what each one does to my body, once I ingest them.
So, as a lay person, I want to explain the bare-bones basics of how simple and complex carbs (carbohydrates) function in the body and the effects of each.
But, first, what are carbs?
Carbs or carbohydrates (simple and complex) fuel our bodies and our brains by providing them energy when broken down into blood sugar as glucose.
Let's begin with the simple carbs---what are they?
Simple carbs are sugars (added and naturally occurring)---bad carbs, which are:
Candies and other sweets
White table sugar (100% sucrose)
High-fructose corn syrup
Concentrated fruit juice sweetener
Fruit sugar (fructose)
Milk sugar (lactose)
What are complex carbohydrates?
Complex carbs produce starch---healthy (good) carbs, which provide high and low fiber:
Refined, processed foods, (low fiber)
"Enriched wheat flour" breads and cereals
Instant and French-fried potatoes
Whole foods (high fiber)
"Whole" wheat or grain breads and cereals
Oats, brown and wild rice, whole wheat pasta
Beans, peas, whole vegetables, and fruits
Found the difference between simple and complex carbs via serendipity.
The Bad Stuff:
Periodically, on days when I had a taste for snacks---I'm talking about my guilty pleasures, Oreo cookies, bubble gum, sweet tea, caramel macchiatos with the works, hotcakes with syrup, white pasta, coffee in my cream (more cream than coffee) with sugar, (again, not all in the same day or at the same time), I noticed that I had to immediately go to the latrine and (please, I don't mean to gross you out) relieve #2.
Each time I ate the sugary, bad stuff, this happened, and I stayed hungry---my stomach was a "bottomless pit."
The Good Stuff:
On my normal "clean-eating" days when I'd eat oats, brown rice, fruits, veggies, beans, and drink lots of water, I would sit for at least four hours until the next meal without any #2 bathroom breaks---I didn't need to go---it may be hours later.
But most often at the same time every day no matter what, as long as I would practice healthy eating, I was very "regular." I also was satiated---rarely hungry between meals---I didn't want or need any snacks.
When I did snack, I would have carrots, apples, sardines, berries and unsweetened, unflavored Greek yogurt---the healthy stuff on the menu.
The Conclusive Outcome:
Immediately broke down and digested to make blood sugar glucose
Immediately had to relieve #2 after eating
I craved to crash for a nap, which I call the "2 o'clock crash"
I grew tired and sluggish
Sometimes even depressed and irritable
I would get the jitters from the sugar rush
Insatiable sugar cravings
Empty calories---no nutrients
Satiated until the next meal---I stay fuller longer
Slower to digest
Little, to no desire to snack between meals
Good night's sleep
Wake-up rested and refreshed
More gassy (from the raw fruits and veggies)
I don't enjoy the good/complex carbs as much as the bad/simple ones
I feel more grounded and healthier
I eat less
I discovered that the complex carbs, which are in grains and veggies have an abundance of fiber and water----this makes them more bulky, which fills me up with out extra calories.
Consuming complex carbs are the healthy choice. However, I still consume some of the "bad" carbs, but in moderation---over time, and every-now-and-then---I'm human---I still have a "sweet tooth."