generally like to stay away from labeling food as “good” or “bad” to avoid the “all or nothing” mentality. Instead of thinking of food as the good vs. the bad, I suggest that we try thinking of them by their nutritional content.
In its most elemental form, carbohydrates are made of carbon (carb), oxygen (o) and hydrogen (hydrate). Together these elemental parts make the most basic form of sugar, called glucose or monosaccharide. Simple carbohydrates contain one or two monosaccharides, which are termed as “disaccharides.” Complex carbohydrates contain multiple monosaccharides, termed as “polysaccharides.”
Examples of simple carbohydrates: Sugar, honey, syrup, candy, white bread, pastries, soft drinks, juice.
Examples of complex carbohydrates: Whole grains, oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, beans, potatoes, chickpeas, peas.
As consumers we hear a lot of bad rep about carbs with the popularization of low-carb diet, keto diet, Atkins diet, and etc. This is because the average American diet is heavily loaded with bread, sweets and pasta. Do you recall the USDA food pyramid that were taught in schools? At the base of that pyramid is carbohydrates in its every form: bread, pasta, crackers, rice, and etc. Carbohydrates, as it turns out, are a good source of nutrition and energy, but we should consume it at moderation in a balanced diet for optimal weight.
My medical advice about carbohydrates is this: carbohydrates are not bad for you. In fact, you need carbohydrates in your diet. I want you to understand the difference between complex and simple carbs, and why all carbohydrates are not created equal. Your body takes carbohydrates as its main source of energy. When you ingest carbs, the molecules are broken down into monosaccharides, or glucose, which enters the biochemical pathways to create energy molecules. The difference, as discussed above, between simple and complex carbohydrates, is the number of basic molecules that are linked together. The more complex the molecule, the more time and energy it will take for your body to break it down. When you consume oatmeal, this is a complex carb with fiber that takes time to be broken down so you will fill fuller longer. When you eat a jolly rancher, which is a simple carb, the sugar in the candy gets broken down immediately so you feel hungry again sooner.
Depending on your health goals, you can enjoy a balanced diet containing 40-65% carbohydrates and still thrive. This comes from your personalized nutrition and fitness plan after our one-on-one nutritional assessment. Just as carbs are not all bad, one size does not fit all. In my nutrition program, you will learn about healthier, complex carbohydrates that will satisfy your craving, meal inspirations, and health tip on how to prepare some of your favorite dishes.