Carbohydrates may seem like just a small piece to the nutritional value puzzle, but the truth about carbs is that they can impact your body and brain in big ways. Carbohydrates come in two forms: refined carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Both forms of carbs have their own impact on the body, and can influence everything from your weight to your mood.
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To understand the truth about carbs, it’s important to distinguish the difference between refined and complex carbohydrates, and exactly what they do to your body when consumed.
Refined Carbohydrates: The Truth is, There are Better Choices
Refined carbohydrates are the version of carbs that most nutritionists and diet books claim as “bad carbs.” Refined carbohydrates are generally made from white flour and sugar; think of foods like cookies, cake, ice cream, bread, and rice. Although many consider refined carbs to be considered the “yummy stuff,” the truth about carbs from processed sugar is that they’re not exactly the best choice if you’re watching your weight, or even fighting depression.
Studies have shown that consuming refined carbohydrates boosts serotonin levels; the “feel good” chemical your brain releases to put you in a positive mood. If you’ve ever used a bag of chips as a pickmeup, you’re not alone. Overeating refined carbohydrates can result in a temporary good mood, only to crash later and potentially experience mood swings. If you’ve felt depressed lately, check your diet. It might surprise you.
Refined carbohydrates are also responsible for weight gain when eaten in excess. Even if you exercise regularly, consuming too many refined carbs will make it difficult to drop fat and develop lean muscle. The truth about carbs is that when they come primarily from sugary snacks and potato chips, it creates a pretty big obstacle to reach your fat loss goals.
Complex Carbohydrates: The Truth is, They Aren’t Too Complex at All
Complex carbohydrates are the healthy kind of carbs. They’re found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Complex carbs are the kind of carbs that are incorporated into a healthy diet. There hasn’t been documented evidence that complex carbs cause adverse side effects to your mood or body. When was the last time you reached for a carrot stick to boost your mood? Probably never, and that’s because complex carbs don’t have much of an impact on serotonin levels. Consuming carbohydrates primarily in the complex form will keep your mood and energy levels consistent.
Complex carbs are also the perfect compliment to a healthy diet. The reason these carbs are good for you is because they are in a natural form; thus making them not too complex at all. Think of vegetables straight from the garden, or an apple as an afternoon snack; it doesn’t get any simpler than that.
The truth about carbs is that you need them. Carbs give you energy and they are a great source of fiber. However, consuming the wrong kinds of carbs too often has its consequences. Keep things simple with complex carbs; your body and brain will thank you for it.