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A Guide to Understanding the Different Types of Carbohydrates

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Carbs are a hot topic these days, with many diets recommending either cutting down on carbs or avoiding them altogether. But how much do you really know about carbs? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably “not that much”. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to understanding carbohydrates and what they can do for your health.

Simple vs. Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates can also be classified into two categories: simple carbs (or “simple sugars”) and complex carbs (also known as “starches”). Simple carbs consist of one sugar molecule while complex carbs have three or more sugar molecules linked together – think of them like long chains of sugar molecules.

Whereas simple sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream for quick energy, complex sugars take longer to digest and provide sustained energy over a longer period of time. You’ll also feel fuller for longer after eating them.

The Glycemic Index (GI) 

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a way to measure how quickly a given food will impact your blood sugar levels when eaten in isolation. Foods with a high GI score will cause your blood sugar levels to spike quickly. Conversely, foods with a low GI score won’t cause your blood sugar levels to increase significantly.

Generally speaking, simple sugars have higher GI scores than complex carbs because they are digested faster by the body. Low carb noodles generally have an incredibly low GI score – only 0-7 depending on the brand – which makes them an excellent choice for people who want to follow a low-carb diet without sacrificing flavour or texture.

Benefits of Eating Carbs

Despite their bad reputation among some diets today, carbohydrates still play an important role in our diet:

  • They supply our bodies with energy so we can stay active throughout the day
  • They provide fibre, which helps keep us regular
  • They contain essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, which help convert food into energy
  • They help prevent constipation by providing bulk to our stool
  • They help regulate blood sugar levels
  • They help us absorb other nutrients such as calcium
  • They provide fuel for physical activity
  • They contribute to healthy weight management when consumed in moderation

Are you getting enough carbohydrates?

In summary, carbohydrates are essential components of a healthy diet and should not be avoided completely (unless you have a medical condition requiring you to do so under doctor supervision, of course).