Simple Carbohydrates vs. Complex Carbohydrates – What Do I Need in my Flat Stomach Diet?

I’m sure you’ve probably heard the term ‘good’ carbohydrates and ‘bad’ carbohydrates or ‘complex’ carbohydrates vs. ‘simple’ carbohydrates, but what exactly does that all mean? Understanding the difference between these two types of carbohydrates is essential to any flat stomach diet.  If you are not aware of good or bad carbohydrates you will continue down the same path, without seeing results. So without getting too technical we’re going to explore the world of carbohydrates here.

A carbohydrate is a macro-nutrient that provides calories and energies to our bodies on a daily basis.  Carbohydrates provide the most energy, of the three major macro-nutrient sources (protein and fat are the other two) and are required for daily activities, as well as the daily function of your body (heartbeat, brain function, digestion).

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly because they are made up of individual sugar molecules. These carbohydrates are ready to be absorbed quickly into the body. The quick absorption of the sugar can either make it readily available as an energy source.

However, when you ingest large amounts of simple carbohydrates, such as the sugar levels found in cookies or cakes, you are ingesting a large amount of energy or sugar. Your body does not need this massive amount of sugar at one time, so instead of using the energy immediately your body will then turn the sugar into glycogen (sugar storage in the cells) or turn it into fat.  Your body does not need large amounts of glycogen, so the majority of the simple carbohydrate foods get stored as fat in your body.

Many sources of simple carbohydrates are bad for you, as you can see from the list below. However, fruit contains simple carbohydrates as well as some fiber.  The fiber in fruit and the low level of sugars in the fruit make it a good source of simple carbohydrates, because it won’t get stored as quickly as fat. Fruit is a recommended source of carbohydrates when compared with the list below.

Examples of Foods with Simple Carbohydrates:

- Soda

- Candy

- Cake

- Fruit Juice

- Foods made with white flour

- Corn Syrup

- Table Sugar

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates, or starches, as the name suggests, are more complex than simple carbohydrates. To get momentarily scientific are sugar molecules that are bonded together into a chain. Since the chains of these carbohydrates are longer, it takes the digestive enzymes in your body longer to break them down into the usable energy of individual sugar molecules.

The slow breakdown and absorption of the individual sugars into the intestines provides us with a steady supply of energy for a longer period of time. Since it takes longer to absorb the complex carbohydrates our body then uses the energy as needed, and less of the sugar is then stored as fat.

Foods that are made up of complex carbohydrates are also made up with fiber, with also help with your digestion process.

Examples of Complex Carbohydrates:

- Green Vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus)

- Whole Wheat foods

- Brown/Whole Grain Rice

- Strawberries

- Yams/Sweet Potatoes

- Oatmeal

- Beans (Lentils, Kidney, Soy, etc)

- Muesli

- Tomatoes

- Eggplant

In order to get the flat stomach of your dreams your flat stomach diet should consist of more complex carbohydrates then simple carbohydrates. This ensures that your body is constantly burning fat, instead of storing simple sugars as fat.  Now that you know the difference between these two carbohydrates – the good vs. the bad – you can make the right decisions at meal time, to ensure you aren’t making it harder for yourself to reach your flat stomach goals.

(Check out a one of my personal favorite Flat Stomach Lunch Recipe: Spinach Salad, to see just how easy it is to include lots of fiber and good for you carbohydrates into your daily diet.)

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    5 years ago

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  2. Melanie Rasmuson
    4 years ago

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