• There are three main types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches, and fiber.
• You’ll also likely hear them referred to as “whole/complex” versus “refined/simple” carbs.
• Whole or simple carbs are unprocessed and have all of their natural fiber content intact.
• Refined or complex carbs have been processed, which causes the fiber content to be removed or altered.
• Examples of whole/complex carbs include: whole grains, vegetables, potatoes, quinoa, legumes, nuts.
• Examples of refined/simple carbs include: white bread, pastries, sugary drinks, candy, cookies.
• Refined carbs tend to cause larger spikes in blood sugar levels because they’re low in fiber and digested quickly. This usually causes you to have a post-carb crash and can lead to additional cravings and hunger signals. This type of carb usually doesn’t provide much nutritional benefit.
• Whole carbs usually contain more nutrients and fiber and will spike blood sugar levels much less than refined carbs. These are better choices for carbs and contain all their natural fiber and typically offer more nutrition than refined carbs.
• Instead of focusing on carbs as being “good” or “bad”, focus on increasing whole carb options over refined.