Not-so-healthy carbs

Not-so-healthy carbs

The carbohydrates we should try to avoid in our diets

Jingwen Huang, PhD

Dr. Jingwen Huang obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nutrition and Food Science at Florida State University in 2018.

Simple sugars and Refined starches can cause problems 

Carbohydrates are the best source of energy for our body and brain to function on.  But processed carbohydrates, simple sugars and refined starches are low in fiber and a poor source of healthy nutrients, plus they are often combined with fats.  This means that they are not as filling, easy to overeat, and give less nutrient bang for your buck (with the calorie count still adding up!). 

Simple Sugars: 

  • Table sugar (white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, etc)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup 
  • Maple Syrup 
  • Honey 
  • Candy
  • Fruit Juice  

Refined Carbohydrates: 

  • White Bread 
  • White Rice 
  • All purpose flour (used in most pastries, cakes, and cookies) 
  • Pasta 
  • Sweetened Cereals
unhealthy carbs

When these carbs are digested, they quickly spike blood sugar which can cause unsteady energy levels during the day. Worse, the high blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Refined carbohydrates and simple sugars can also cause hormone imbalances and dental cavities. While it is ok to eat a little bit of processed carbs every once in a while, the majority of your carbohydrate intake should be from whole, complex carb sources

There are sugar substitutes, but they can also cause problems.

Bottom line

Carbohydrates are an important energy source for the body; however we should aim to mostly eat complex carbs and avoid simple sugar and refined carbohydrates.

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