Healthy carbohydrates: Know which types to choose

Nov 18, 2016


Saccharides, sugars  are divided into two categories; simple and complex. The division indicates the speed in which they are digested and converted into sugars absorbed by our body. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy, therefore it is very important to provide a sufficient quantity of them in our diet.

Simple sugars

Monosaccharides  these can be found in fruits (fructose), milk (lactose) and sugar (sucrose and glucose). These types of sugars are quickly digested by our body providing immediate energy, but only for a short period of time. As a result, we feel hungry very quickly and reach for another meal, which leads to overeating and our body ends up converting the excess glucose into fat. Simple carbohydrates contained in highly processed products contribute to overweight and obesity leading to diabetes, heart diseases and circulation problems going forward.

Complex carbohydrates 

Found in the form of starch, contained in vegetables, grains and legumes (beans, lentils, peas).


Easly found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Fiber is an important component of reducing body weight. It increases the feeling of satiety, thereby facilitating the maintenance of dietary recommendations, and as the result promotes weight loss.

Healthy sources of carbohydrates

  1. Rice: brown, parboiled, basmati – all great forms of fiber, zinc and iron. Accompanied with some colourful vegetables and meat or fish, creates an ideal bodybuilding meal.
  2. Oats: full of vitamin B which helps reduce fatigue of the body. A valuable source of fiber and can help reduce cholesterol in our body.
  3. Potatoes: low in calories and fat, high in vitamin C and fiber.
  4. Sweet potatoes: good source of vitamin C, fiber and beta-carotene. Known to have a positive effect on eyesight and improve your memory.
  5. Whole-grain pasta: good source of complex carbohydrates, folic acid, iron and fiber.
  6. Whole-grain bread: not the best source of carbohydrates you can have in your diet. However, in an emergency, when you don’t have time to prepare a meal, it’s a better choice than some high in calories snacks. Always check the type of the flour bread is made from, as some manufacturers overuse the term “whole grain”, and bread usually contains a mix of different flours. The best choice of bread is sourdough. Yum!
  7. Vegetables: rich source of fiber and vitamins. Always aim for a variety of different colours with every meal. They can add volume to a meal and help satiety you faster, without adding the extra calories!
  8. Other sources: rye flakes, buckwheat, couscous and quinoa.

There are many good sources of complex carbohydrates, which means our diets can be varied. Simple carbohydrates should be mainly eaten after a training session. In that period, our body needs a big spike of insulin to restore glycogen in the muscle and helps with recovery.

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