Carbohydrates or “carbs” are the most common source of energy that we get from food. Carbs include bread, pasta, potatoes, beans, rice and cereals.

There are two types of carbs, simple and complex. Simple carbs can also be called simple sugars. Simple sugars are what you would find in refined sugar or white sugar. Foods that contain simple sugars are foods such as candy. Fruit and milk can also have simple sugars. Obviously it is better to have fruit and milk but sugar is sugar and we still need to be careful.

Complex carbs, or starches, are in such foods as bread, crackers, pasta, rice and even vegetables. Refined carbs have been processed so the nutrients and fiber have been removed. It is much better to eat unrefined grains that still contain vitamins and minerals as well as fiber to aid in digestion. Fiber also helps you feel fuller longer so that you eat less.

For example, what happens when you eat something such as a doughnuts. Doughnuts contain simple sugars and refined carbs. There aren’t any nutrients in them. When you eat one your body says, “Did you just eat something? I can’t tell.” You want more because your body will not be satisfied. The same thing can happen eating cereals or pasta. You just keep eating more and more.

We are a society that eats too many carbs. Just like most other nutritional topics there are debates over how many carbs we should eat and if we should eat them at all. Should we eat a low carb diet or is a low carb diet unhealthy?

Mainstream thinking is that eating the right kind of carbs are good for us. Carbs provide the energy that we need to burn during the day. Your body needs 40%-60% of its calories from carbs. However the other side says that eating any kind of carb does raise your insulin levels which is known to make you store fat. Eat the refined carbs as little as possible. Get most of your carbs from veggies and whole grains.

The bottom line is if you are eating doughtnuts everyday you should make other choices. If you are eating carbs such as oatmeal, 100% whole wheat while getting your veggies, fruits and healthy protein you should be fine. Just use common sense.

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