Carbohydrates are one of the most important nutrients in your diet. They are one of the three macronutrients, with the others being protein and fat. When in comes to carbs, they can be broken down further into simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are sugars and are easily broken down to be used for energy. Complex carbs are made up of longer chains of sugars and therefore take longer to break down in the body. Complex carbs also contain fiber, and other vitamins and minerals that provide energy through calories.
Simple carbs are essentially just sugar. They can be classified as processed or refined simple carbs, or naturally occurring. Processed simple carbs can be ingested through anything with processed sugar – cookies, cake, soda, etc. Naturally occurring simple carbs can be found in dairy products and fruits. Simple carbs provide fast energy for your body through their calories, but the aren’t complete. They are made up of shorter sugar chains and are missing fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. When it comes to your diet, you should restrict simple carbs as much as you can, and focus on complex carbs. If you are looking for some quick energy from simple carbs, naturally occurring ones are certainly the better option.
Complex carbs are comprised of longer chains of sugars, and other minerals and vitamins. Because of this they take much longer to break down in the body and provide a slower, more gradual release of energy. The carbs in your diet should be made up mostly of complex carbs, as they are not only a better overall source of energy, but because they also contain essential the other essential micronutrients. These carbs can be found in whole grains, beans, legumes and starchy vegetables.
Overall, in your diet carbs should generally be accounting for between 30% - 50% of your diet, so it is important to make sure that you are paying attention to what carbs you are consuming. By making sure that you are getting the majority of your carbs from complex carbs instead of simple carbs, you can maintain a healthier diet and promote better muscle growth and fat loss.