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Simple Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a very important component in our daily diet as they provide energy to the nervous system and the brain. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars in the body which is then used as a fuel to supply the body with the energy it requires. It is generally recommended that about half of a person’s total daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. Foods that contain sugars and starches are included in this food group. Carbohydrates are divided into two broad categories –simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates, according to their composition.

Complex carbohydrates are preferred to simple carbohydrates as simple carbs are considered to be unhealthy. This negative perception is due to the fact that most processed sugars are simple carbohydrates and have been proven to be unhealthy. While it would be better to avoid these processed simple carbs foods, it is important to keep in mind that natural simple carbohydrates are extremely healthy and a great source of energy. Fruits like peaches, pears, and apples are all good sources of simple carbohydrates. Honey too contains significant amounts of natural simple carbohydrates. A natural simple carbohydrates list would also include blackberries, blueberries, melons, oranges, and other sweet fruits. Peach is good for those who are recovering from illnesses and for those who are in a state of depression. The health benefits of peaches includes good energy-building with enough carbohydrates source.

These fruits are low in calories and rich in minerals and vitamins and so they can be included in a regular diet. However, there are several processed simple carbohydrates foods that you should avoid such as candy, pastry products, and cakes. These foods are also high in their calorific value and should be avoided as far as possible. High calorie foods cause a release of hormones in our body and this results in a “feel good” reaction. As the level of these hormones starts to drop once more, a person feels compelled to eat more of these foods. Thus the more processed carbohydrates in a person’s diet, the tougher it is to switch to a healthy diet. The first step towards a healthier diet is an understanding of just how much damage your body is undergoing. Simple carbohydrate counting is a technique that is used to track your consumption of this food type. Once an individual has determined their carbohydrate intake, they can then decide on a fitting diet plan. Instead of trying to eliminate all simple carbohydrates from a regular diet, it would be easier to substitute simple processed carbohydrates with natural simple carbohydrates to avoid “sugar cravings”. Thus in order to stick to a new diet plan, it is essential that you include plenty of fruits in your diet for at least the first few weeks, after which you can slowly add additional healthy foods to your diet.

Processed foods that contain plenty of simple carbohydrates include white flour products like pastries and cakes, white bread, granulated sugar, and other processed sweets. These should be substituted with wholegrain bread and pasta, homemade cakes with whole grain flour, raw or unprocessed sugar, and sweets made from natural sugars. Since processed foods are often the source of unhealthy carbohydrates, it is very important to read all food labels very carefully. It is also better to substitute processed foods for raw food products as these generally are nutritionally superior. Fruits are often preserved in syrup which helps to prolong their shelf life. However, this syrup invariably contains several different processed sugars which are considered to be detrimental to an individual’s health. When making fruit salads and desserts, it would be better to use fresh strawberries, mango, pineapple, and peaches instead of their preserved counterparts.   

Carbohydrates are a very important food group and must be a part of a healthy diet. While there are several fad diets and crash diets that advise an individual to severely restrict their carbohydrate intake, this is not advisable unless your doctor has specifically recommended it.

Submitted on January 17, 2014