Everything You Should Know about Complex Carbohydrates

Everything You Should Know about Complex Carbohydrates

You have probably heard that, to stay healthy, one should include foods containing complex carbohydrates in each meal. But what are these foods? And what for should we eat them?

Complex carbs provide a human organism with energy. This group of substances comprises maltose, starch and cellulose.

In fact, all kinds of plant food contain some sort of complex carbohydrates. The majority of such foods has cellulose and starch:

    • Starch. Plants use it for storing energy. The foods that are high in this carbohydrate include grains, legumes, potatoes, rice and corn.
    • Cellulose. It takes part in the process of the formation of plants. Besides, it is present in dietary fiber. If you need much cellulose, get green beans, spinach and broccoli.

Simple carbs include 1-2 sugars, while complex ones are made up of no less than 3 sugar units. Simple sugars comprise such foods as syrups, honey, fructose, sweets and other foods containing table sugar.

How are Complex Carbs Digested?

Foods containing starch are digested quickly. Their influence on a human organism resembles that of foods containing much sugar. Eating starchy foods can cause blood sugar swings.

As for cellulose, it cannot be digested. As a result, the digestion is slowed down which prevents critical rises of the blood sugar level.

So eating high-fiber foods, such as whole grains or vegetables, is a good way to stabilize the blood sugar level.

How Many Complex Carbs Should You Get Every Day?

According to specialists, complex carbohydrates should constitute ½ of the calories you get daily. To stay healthy, adults need 25-38 grams of fiber per day.

While preparing a meal, imagine that your plate is divided into four parts. To get a healthy meal, you should fill two quarters with fruits and vegetables. One quarter can contain starchy foods. And the last part should be filled with protein-containing products. You can choose either animal protein sources (such as meat, fish or poultry) or vegetarian foods rich in protein, e.g. lentils.

Such a meal will provide you with all the nutritional substances you need. You will get enough carbohydrates and proteins and the right amount of fats.

A healthy meal can contain leaf beet, potatoes (stewed, baked or boiled) and a piece of fish or chicken. In case you are a vegetarian, replace fish by beans or tofu.

As you can see, keeping to a balanced diet is easy enough. To stay healthy and energetic, you just need to make sure complex carbs make half of the daily amount of calories.