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Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs

Knowing about some basic and important points on good carbs vs bad carbs helps you choose the right kind of food for your diet, and also manage medical conditions if you might have any.
So what are carbohydrates all about? These are the ones which provide humans and animals with the energy required for their daily function. They exist in various foods in the form of sugars and starches, and when once in the body, they get broken down into sugar molecules; one of them being the glucose. And this very glucose eventually gets transferred into the cells to be converted into the energy the body requires. Now these sources of energy come in two forms; good and bad. When more appropriately addressed, good carbs are complex carbohydrates, while the bad ones are simple carbohydrates.

What are Good Carbs?

Complex carbohydrates are known as good carbs, because of the various benefits they impart to the body. These carbs earn their name because of their structure of molecules (called starches) that are strung together to form long, complex chains with three or more single sugar molecules linked together. And because of these chains, the carbs get metabolized in a slower manner, thus providing the body with energy that is even and can last for a longer time, and avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels. Some of the common sources of good carbs or complex carbohydrates are as follows:

• All bran
• Almonds
• Apples
• Apricots
• Artichokes
• Asparagus
• Bagel
• Bananas
• Barley
• Beans
• Black beans
• Broccoli
• Brown rice
• Brussels
• Buckwheat bread
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Cassava
• Celery
• Chickpeas
• Collard greens
• Corn
• Cress
• Cucumber
• Dill pickles
• Dried Coleslaw
• Dry beans
• Eggplant
• Flax seeds
• Garbanzo beans
• Granary bread
• Grapefruit
• Kidney beans
• Lentils
• Lettuce
• Low fat yogurt
• Muesli
• Navy beans
• Nuts
• Oat bran cereal
• Oatcakes
• Okra
• Onions
• Oranges
• Parsnips
• Pinto beans
• Pistachio nuts
• Porridge oats
• Potatoes
• Pumpkin seeds
• Radishes
• Root vegetables
• Ryvita crispbread
• Shredded wheat
• Skim milk
• Soybeans
• Spaghetti
• Summer water
• Sunflower seeds
• Sweet corn
• Sweet potato
• Tomato
• Turnip greens
• Walnuts
• Whole meal bread
• Whole grain cereals
• Wholemeal bread
• Wholemeal cereals
• Wild rice
• Winter squash
• Yams
• Zucchini

What are Bad Carbs?

These are the kind of carbohydrates you would want to stay away from. These are the simple carbohydrates, which consist of single and double chained sugar molecules. Also known as sugars, they are more refined and are broken down rapidly, thus providing the body with quick but limited burst of energy. And which is why, they lead to food cravings, thus weight gain in most people. In the United States simple carbs are one of the major reasons for obesity. Also, because these carbs enter rapidly into the bloodstream, they often cause the blood sugar levels to elevate in a sharp manner, which is not considered as a good thing for diabetics. Some common examples of such carbs may include:

• White flour baked goods
• Biscuits, cakes and pastries
• Brown and white cane sugar
• Cake
• Candy
• Chocolate
• Corn syrup
• Fruit juice
• Honey
• Jam
• Jellies
• Milk
• Most packaged cereals
• Pasta made with white flour
• Pizzas
• Prepared foods and sauces
• Soda pop
• Soft drinks
• Sweets and snack bars
• Table sugar
• Yogurt

Good Carbs

These carbohydrates help...

# in keeping a person satisfied for longer time, by providing a slow but even supply of energy.

# in weight loss by killing pangs of hunger.

# lowering cholesterol.

# in improving bowel function, and avoiding indigestion.

# managing disorders such as diabetes.

# in adding to the overall health of the body, as they are loaded with antioxidants, essential vitamins, and minerals.

Bad Carbs

These carbohydrates...

# spike blood glucose levels, as they undergo a rapid break down process, thus increasing risk of or worsening diabetes.

# do provide energy but lack essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.

# cause weight gain, as they cannot keep a person satiated for a longer time.

# hamper the body's natural process of fat reduction.

# contain artificial flavorings and preservatives, which are not recommended in a healthy diet.

Although, simple carbohydrates are labeled with a negative reputation, they are not all bad when consumed in stringent amounts. It is only when their consumption goes over the head, they spell trouble. So you don't have to stop yourself from enjoying your favorite pizza, chocolate or sweet syrup all the time. However, ensure that you don't get tempted to binge onto them. Take care!