Simple and complex carbohydrates - what is the difference

Recently, the world has been obsessed with low-carbohydrate diets, declaring almost all carbohydrate products a third world war. The fitness coach Heidi Klum photomodel in the "black list" got even fruits. Not to mention cereals.

I'm not so categorical and I think that carbohydrates are necessary even for weight reduction. All that is needed for peaceful coexistence with these nutrients is knowledge of which carbohydrates are "good" and which are "bad" and how many they need to be consumed.

Carbohydrates come in two types - "simple" and "complex." Their type depends on the speed of digestion and absorption in the blood, respectively, "simple" carbohydrates are digested quickly, and "complex" - slowly.

Complex carbohydrates are nourishing and useful

Complex carbohydrates consist of long molecular chains, so the digestive system is not so easy to split them up to glucose. Difficult carbohydrates are assimilated slowly, without raising the level of sugar in the blood, providing us with energy and a feeling of satiety for 3-4 hours. Complex carbohydrates are starch, glycogen, pectin and fiber. Starch and glycogen are energy sources, and pectin and fiber are dietary fibers.

Sources of complex carbohydrates are raw cereals, vegetables, bread from wholemeal flour. These foods should be present in your diet: for breakfast - porridge, for lunch - lettuce and cereals (buckwheat, cinnamon, brown rice) or vegetable garnish, for dinner - stewed or baked vegetables. Do not forget about the protein component.

There are foods with high and low carbohydrate, for example in vegetables (except potatoes, carrots) they are few. But potatoes, pasta, cereals contain a lot of carbohydrates (from 20 g per 100 g of the finished product) and they are used as a full garnish or even the main dish. In the day you can eat about 50 grams of bread, 150 g of potatoes or ready-made pasta, about the same number of ready-made porridges and 400-500 g of fruits and vegetables.

Fiber and pectin are also complex carbohydrates, but their peculiarity lies in the fact that the body does not digest them, but derives them naturally. This does not mean that they are useless, on the contrary, they are necessary for the full digestion and maintenance of normal intestinal microflora. Fiber is a kind of "brush" that helps to remove all unnecessary and undigested remnants of food. Fiber also slows the absorption of carbohydrates, not allowing the blood sugar level to rise sharply, which allows you to stay full longer.

Where to take it? Fiber can be found in unprocessed cereals, whole grains, cereal loaves and bread, vegetables and fruits. Especially a lot of fiber in cabbage, carrots, beets, greens, apples, pears, kiwi, berries, etc. Pectin is plentiful in apples, pears, citrus fruits and some other vegetables and fruits. These products must be on your plate daily.

Fiber should be about 20-25 g per day. A portion of oatmeal contains about 5-7 g of fiber, in 1 apple - about 4 g. Separately, the fiber can be bought in the form of powder or in the form of bran in pharmacies and supermarkets. If you eat not enough vegetables, fruits, you can enrich your diet with fiber, adding it to dishes or simply eating separately, without forgetting to wash down with liquid.

Oh yes, now about potatoes and pasta, these two products are the subject of a lot of debasing controversy. There is a lot of starch in the potatoes, and pasta is made from flour, but their "behavior" in your body depends on the way of cooking and serving.

For example, the potato in a uniform that you clean and serve with fresh vegetables will not harm the figure, which is not to say about fried potatoes or mashed potatoes (I do not say anything about chips, they should not be in the diet of a healthy diet at all). With macaroni the same story - they should be slightly not cooked and buy only those pasta on which it is indicated "made of durum wheat". Adding butter, fatty patties will not make them more useful. If you want to combine pasta with protein products, then choose lean meat or fish, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese.

What is a simple carbohydrate?

The name speaks for itself - for the digestion of simple carbohydrates, the body does not need much time and energy, they are partially digested already in your mouth - when interacting with saliva, and are digested literally for an hour, after which you will most likely want supplements. Simple carbohydrates include all natural sugars - fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose and sucrose. You can find them in sweets, products from white peeled flour, in fruits and some vegetables, milk and dairy products.

An example of simple carbohydrates is Napoleon cake. Sweet white dough + sweet milk cream - there is nothing worse for the figure if you dream of losing weight.

From simple carbohydrates it is really possible to gain weight easily, after all they are capable to pass in fats at the intemperate use, and still - they raise appetite. You ate pastry, and the body received a lot of sweet and flour.

To process all this "wealth" and reduce the blood sugar to normal, the hormone insulin is released. It helps simple carbohydrates to be digested as soon as possible - some of them go to glycogen (these are carbohydrate stores in the liver and muscles), and some - into fat!

After insulin has finished its work, the blood sugar level decreases and - again, hello, appetite or even hunger! Why did you want to eat 1.5 hours after the cake, because he was so high-calorie? It's simple - the brain gives a signal that you need to refresh yourself when the blood sugar level decreases, and you just had a sudden fluctuation of blood sugar - first the rise, and then - the decline.

For this reason, after a plentiful feast for the morning, sometimes we wake up terribly hungry. And yet - sweet and flour forms a strong dependence, so rejecting them will require serious willpower.

And fruit can or can not be

A special conversation about fruit. Fruits and dried fruits contain simple carbohydrates. Their number is less than in the flour and sweet, but still quite high. But there are still they can and even need, because in addition to simple carbohydrates in fruits, a lot of complex useful fiber, which, as we remember from the beginning of the article, slows down the absorption of carbohydrates. In addition, fruits contain vitamins and minerals, to refuse which would be a mistake. Just reduce the weight of fruit you need to eat moderately - about 200 g of fruit or 50 g of dried fruits a day.

In general, do not think that simple carbohydrates are an absolute evil. They contribute to weight gain only if you exceed the recommended rate. A little sweet fruit, dried fruits, a slice of white bread or even 1-2 sweets will not do any harm. The main thing is to know the measure!

Just, try not to let the sweets accompany you all the time. Believe me, the waiter every time suggests at the end of the meal to order a dessert, not because it is so right or so laid on etiquette. Just the restaurant needs to be sold as much as possible. But you need to think about yourself, right? Discard the dessert at all or replace it with a fruit salad. At work, stop eating a biscuit and chips. Potatoes are best used in uniform, choose cereals and whole grain baked goods. It is better not to add sugar to tea, but to consume sweet fruits (persimmon, grapes) moderately.

What is the glycemic index?

Glycemic index is an indicator of how quickly carbohydrates from a particular product are absorbed into the blood. There are whole tables, which indicate all-all products and their glycemic index. To use them is very simple - the higher the index, the undesirable the product and vice versa. This table is useful for diabetics, as well as for losing weight.

Low-fat dairy products without sugar, non-starchy vegetables - products with low GI can eat plenty.

Cereals, bread, potatoes, beets, carrots - use moderately.

And sweets, baked goods, fried potatoes - as rarely as possible.

Keep the ratio of "complex" and "simple" carbohydrates - 90% should be "complex", and 10% - "simple", then you will not recover. In a day you need about 250-300g of carbohydrates. In cereals, add fruit or honey, butter - no more than 10 grams, a day eat 1-2 fruits and two servings of vegetables. And remember - that people recover not from bread and pasta, but from butter smeared on them, added to the paste of fatty sauce and fatty meat. Worse than simple carbohydrates - just simple carbohydrates with fat. I will explain this in more detail in one of the following materials.

How many carbohydrates you need to eat to lose weight

Before you tell us about carbohydrates, their role in the body, and how many carbohydrates you need to eat to lose weight, I would like to pay attention to this: for weight loss it is more important to determine not what and in what quantities you need to eat, But something that should be completely abandoned. And it, first of all, fast carbohydrates - sugar, products from white sifted flour, any roll, buns and sweets, white ground rice. If you want to lose weight, these products should be completely forgotten. But slow carbohydrates can be eaten. In what quantities - now tell.

The brain requires about 150 grams of carbohydrates a day to perform its function. Most of them enter the body with food, a little more is obtained as a result of the breakdown of their own fats, plus a certain amount synthesizes the normal microflora of the large intestine.

To avoid risking and not counting on your little friends (microbes), you need to hedge yourself and start from this figure - 150 g. This is the minimum that will allow, in the absence of serious physical activity, to keep normal mental activity and not drive yourself into depression Because of a lack of glucose.

The same amount of carbohydrates - no more than 150 grams per day - is recommended by the popular paleo diet preacher Mark Sisson in the west. In particular, he writes:

"Consuming 300 grams of carbohydrates per day, you put yourself at risk of getting obesity, diabetes and other diseases. Eating 150-300 grams of carbohydrates a day, you will slowly but surely gain weight (one kg of fat per year). If you do not exceed the figure of 100-150 g per day, you will be able to maintain the weight within the norm.

By reducing the amount to 50-100 grams of carbohydrates per day, you lower the level of insulin and increase the burning of your own fats.

Less than 50 g of carbohydrates transforms the body into a state of ketosis, but this is allowed only for one to two days in order to start the process of losing weight, and at the same time it is necessary to take food supplements."

Low-carb diets

On the principle of reducing the intake of carbohydrates, popular low-carbohydrate diets are based, for example, the Kremlin diet and Dr. Atkins diet. At the first stage, patients will have a sharp restriction of carbohydrates (up to 20-40 g per day), which translates the body into a state of ketosis and starts the process of losing weight. At subsequent stages, the bar is raised to 60 g per day, which helps maintain weight.

The bad news is that the adherents of these diets do not limit the amount of fat eaten, absorbing fatty meat products and sausages. In addition, there are other shortcomings, the main of which I would mention the polydeficiency of vitamins and trace elements. No wonder in his work, Dr. Atkins indicates a long list of all kinds of food supplements that are highly recommended for use, and otherwise the body has a hard time.

Yes, and his own negative example - Dr. Atkins died at 73, and at the end of his life had a weight equal to 120 kg - especially does not inspire confidence in this technique, as well as its Russian counterpart - the Kremlin diet. However, the very principle - there is less carbohydrate food to cause weight loss - is true. If you want to lose weight, reduce the amount of incoming carbohydrates is necessary.

I do not see much sense in calculating carbohydrates in natural foods - vegetables and fruits, which you can eat in any quantity. Judge for yourself, to gain 100 grams of carbohydrates you will have to eat two kilograms of cabbage or one kilogram of apples. Therefore, vegetables and fruits should not be afraid. The only exception is products with a high content of starch (potatoes and other root crops, peas, beans), the reception of which should be limited and controlled. In the case of store food, the necessary information can be found on the label.

Take, for example, whole wheat rye bread. On the label we are looking for the content of carbohydrates. Let's say it is 40 g per 100 g of product. To save the figure, we are allowed to eat not more than 150 grams of carbohydrates per day. This amount is contained in 375 g of whole grain bread.

To lose weight, you should eat less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day, which corresponds to 250 g of such bread.

How much of that carbohydrate can be eaten to fit the same figure of 40 g, which is recommended in the first stage of low-carb diets? In fact, quite a lot.

For example, two green apples in the morning (200 g = 20 g carbohydrates), 300 grams of green salad for lunch and 200 grams of courgettes for dinner (10 grams).

Counting carbohydrates in white bread, baking and pastry is not worth it. Let me remind you that any refined and heavily processed foods are not suitable for dietary nutrition in principle.