What Is A Carbohydrate?
Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Knowing the difference between good and bad carbs is crucial in maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your body – categorised as sugars, starches and fibre. These can be called either “simple” or “complex” based on their chemical makeup and how your body processes them. Most foods contain more than one type of carbohydrate, so understanding what’s healthy and what’s not takes a little more understanding.
Simple carbohydrates contain sugars that can be easily digested and quickly converted in to either energy or fat depending on your levels of activity. Some of these sugars occur naturally, such as in fruits and milk, while others are the refined sugars added to sweets, baking, fizzy drinks and the like.
Whether or not these simple carbs are good or bad for you depends on what you eat. For example, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals which are vital for a healthy body, and naturally contain the sugars that form simple carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables also contain fibre, which changes the way that the body processes these sugars and slows down their digestion, giving you a more consistent flow of energy.
Cakes, cookies and chocolate on the other hand, generally contain little nutritional value and fibre, and are responsible for the bursts of energy you feel shortly after consumption, followed by the crash.
Complex carbohydrates contain longer chains of sugar molecules, which tend to take longer for the body to break down and use. Found in whole grains, legumes and starchy vegetables, complex carbs provide energy at a more consistent rate, as opposed to the highs and lows that we feel with simple, refined carbohydrates, to keep you fuelled for longer. Foods with complex carbohydrates also typically have more vitamins, fibre, and minerals than foods containing more simple carbohydrates, as long as you’re choosing whole grains over processed ones. Whole grains such as whole-wheat flour, quinoa, brown rice, barley, corn and oats, provide more nutrients than processed grains, such as white rice and breads, pasta and baked goods made with white flour.
So when it comes to choosing good carbs, go for foods that are low in sugar and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
At Swolefoods we have designed three meal ranges that each have unique amounts of carbohydrates to ensure that you are getting the right amount of energy to suit your goals. All of our meals contain only carbohydrates that are full of nutrients and low in sugars to so that you can perform your best for longer.
Our Low Carb range has been created for those who wish to cut their consumption of carbohydrates to a minimum, with nutrient dense vegetables being the only source of carbs in the meals. Perfect if you want to limit your energy intake, especially at night.