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Simple vs complex carbohydrates and how they affect you mood!

Through the years, as probably some of you, I cut out from my diet food groups or seriously decreased their intake. So many times I heard this statement: ” Carbohydrates make you fat!” and to some extent, I really believed that affirmation was true until I realised I was eating the “wrong type of carbohydrates”, such as white bread, sugary cakes, cookies, fries, you name it! Have you ever been there?

Simple Carbohydrates versus Complex Carbohydrates. What is the difference?

Carbohydrates are extremely important for your body and brain to function. They are the best brain food. However, not all carbs are equal in terms of composition, nutritional value and therefore, how they enter your bloodstream.

Their components are fibre, starch, and sugar. The first two are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. The nutrient quality of all carbohydrates depends on the quantity of those three elements contained in them. Basically, they provide all the fuel your cells need and once ingested, they are broken down into glucose. Glucose is the main important nutrient for the brain and nervous system and certain carbs do a better job in offering energy to our body.

These good carbs are called complex carbohydrates because they are higher in fibre, and therefore more filling and slowest to digest. For this reason, they are called slow-releasing because they provide energy in a steady way, keeping your blood sugar levels stable. They are commonly found in whole plant foods and are also high in vitamins and minerals which are essential nutrients for your body.

Examples of complex carbohydrates are:

♥ Green vegetables, such as broccoli;

♥ Whole-grain bread, brown rice or pasta;

♥ Oats;

♥ Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin;

♥ Beans and pulses.

On the other side, simple carbohydrates act differently, by entering our bloodstream rapidly and rising our insulin levels causing a sudden spike followed by a crash on our blood sugar level. Insulin is a hormone that allows our body to consume or store glucose for future use and it helps to avoid carbohydrates being stored as fat.

Simple carbs are:

♠ Sugar;

♠ Sweets;

♠ Sugary drinks;

♠ Honey;

♠ Fresh fruits such as bananas, grapes and oranges;

♠ Dried fruits such as raisins and dates;

♠ Some vegetables such as carrots and peas.

While these fruits and vegetables remain very important foods to consume (as they also provide vitamins, minerals and fibre content), it is advisable to pair them with some protein as this helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Research has already shown that too much sugar also affects our adrenalin, the stress hormone. In fact, a quick increase of this hormone in our bloodstream can make us anxious and irritable for example. Therefore, eating complex carbohydrates is key to ensure that our cells get the right energy supply at the right release rate.

I hope these lines has cleared up the confusion around this topic and remember, good carbs do not make you fat and they are crucial to keeping you healthy, energetic and happy. Eat them daily and you will see your energy level increasing without causing your weight to rise.

On a last note, remember that your body weight is no reflection of who you are, your strengths, your capabilities, your kindness, your beauty, and overall awesomeness is not defined by numbers! Never let a number on a scale define who you are or your own worth More important, your brain needs its fuel which includes complex carbs, lean protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. However, this is a great ad longer story and we will talk about it thoroughly soon.

So, now go and eat your complex carbs and feel the happiness running through your cells!



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