What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates: The good and the bad
It’s an ongoing war in the dietary world – high protein, high fat or high protein, high carbs? For much of the plant based diet, carbohydrates play a major role in their daily intake. For conventional eaters the results can often vary. The nutritional world seems to be split each time the winds change. While both nutritional schools of thought have their merit, how much does it matter?
Fat vs. Carbs or Good vs. Bad?
Far too often dieters spend time counting calories rather than watching where they come from. The impact of poor quality far outweighs quantity. High carb diets, low carb diets, and keto diets all have spent their time in the limelight, but while they address the intake ratios they ignore the food itself.
What is a Carbohydrate?
Diet plans may frame the raw numbers, but your trip to the grocery store creates the difference. Carbohydrates are defined as a wide number of organically occurring compounds that contain the same hydrogen:oxygen ratio as water. Carbohydrates are one of the most abundant sources of energy on the planet, found in sugars, starches and cellulose.
Simple vs. Complex Carbs
Carbs can be broadly defined in two groups: simple and complex. Complex carbs are tremendously positive in comparison to their simple, factory born variety.
Here are some examples of complex carbs:
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grain pasta
Simple carbs are stripped of their value, yielding no nutritional benefit aside from temporary energy, also known as the “sugar rush.”
Simple carbs include the following:
- White bread
- High fructose corn syrup
- Refined sugar
- Fruit juice concentrate
Too many of us have been bamboozled into believing that carbs are a net negative. Much like the difference between avocado fats and lamb fat, carbohydrates are of widespread quality. And much like most of our lives, quality should overrule quantity when we make our choices at the restaurants we patronize and the stores we shop in.