Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, serving as the body’s main energy source. Eating the optimal amount of complex carbohydrates is essential – you need just the right amount to fuel your body, but not so much that your body stores the excess as fat and causes weight gain. If you’re extremely active, you’ll need more complex carbs to provide energy for your workouts than someone who’s not as active.
In order to make healthier carbohydrate choices, it’s important to know which sources are refined and which are complex, and understand how each carbohydrate type impacts your body.
Refined carbohydrates are stripped of their nutrients and their natural ability to regulate energy release into the body. Refined carbohydrate sources contain high amounts of white sugar or white flour. They include white rice, white bread, candy, soda, and even many juices. This type of carbohydrate can be dangerous because it can cause drastic fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, possibly leading to obesity or diabetes.
Complex carbohydrates have not been stripped of their nutrients and retain their natural ability to regulate energy release. They include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, oats and wheat. Complex carbs can be thought of as a time-released energy source. Because they’re consumed in a form which is closer to their natural state, they provide sustained energy and are not readily stored as fat.
Following a healthy eating plan and creating weekly menus ahead of time will help you keep on track and ensure you’re eating a nutritious diet that includes whole grain, complex carbohydrates. Making proper choices in selecting your carbohydrate sources is an important step in “Reaching your Physical Potential!”
By: Jim Bompensa
Jim Bompensa has been a health club owner and manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition specialist for the nearly 15 years. He is currently the owner/operator of Body Physics Fitness Center in Haddonfield, NJ. Jim has appeared and contributed on ABC and NBC in Philadelphia, PA as well as Designing Spaces on TLC.