Last time we posted on why sugars is bad for you. For this blog post lets talk about the different type of carbohydrates. In my opinion, not all carbs are created equal.  Some carbs are “better” than others and there are some which add no nutritional value to your diet at all!

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates, aka carbs, are 1 of the 3 main macronutrients The other two are Protein and Fats. It is these 3 things which make up your overall calorie consumption. Carbs are used for the bodies main energy source. Everyone requires a different amount of carbs depending on many different factors such as body type and activity level.  Understanding the difference between types of carbs can be complicated!

Eat more Complex Carbs and limit Simple Carbs:

You may have heard of “simple” carbs and “complex” carbs. The differences are important!

Simple Carbs: These are refined and highly processed.  They digest quickly and tend to leave us feeling unsatisfied. Simple carbs will cause unstable blood sugar and insulin levels, stimulate appetite, and make you want more.

Examples include, but not limited to:

  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Donuts
  • Baked goods
  • White bread

Complex Carbs: These come from whole-food sources, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. These are slower digesting and will leave us feeling fuller longer.  Our blood sugar and insulin levels stay stable releasing energy slowly.

Examples include, but not limited to:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains, oats
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Nuts, seeds

When it comes to choosing the type of carbs to consume, complex is the best choice!  In addition, including some with naturally occurring sugars such as fruits is good as well.  Try to avoid/limit the intake of refined carbs or foods with added sugars.  By choosing to avoid refined and highly processed carbs, you are doing your body a favor!

Carbs to Limit

Instead of:

Smarter Carb Options


Best Carb Options

Even better to choose:

Candy Dried Fruit Whole Fruit
Soda/Sugary Beverage Fruit Juice Water with a slice of fresh fruit
White Bread Whole Wheat Bread Sprouted Grain Bread
Enriched Pasta Whole Wheat Pasta Brown Rice Pasta, Black Bean Pasta, Chickpea Pasta, Edamame Pasta, etc.
Sugary Cereal Bran Cereal Oatmeal


Don’t forget about Fiber!

Fiber is an important part of carbohydrates.  It helps to keep you regular. There is nothing worse than feeling backed up! It will also help keep you feeling fuller longer.  Anyone looking to make a positive impact on their nutrition will want to make sure they are getting enough fiber! Women should get in roughly 25g and men 35g of Dietary Fiber each day.  If you are choosing more complex carbs, this should be easily attainable! On the other hand, if you find yourself loading up with simple carbs, you are going to fall short of reaching your fiber goal and find yourself with increased cravings!

Carbs play an important role in your nutrition! Be mindful with your choices. Lean more towards ones which will help you reach your goals!  Avoid simple carbs as much as possible. Instead, save those for a treat or special occasion. Your future self will thank you!

Liz Jenkins Nutrition Coach at CrossFit Elkhorn

20275 HONEYSUCKLE DR. #108 ELKHORN, NE 68022

Crossfit Box WINNER 2019 Best of omaha 2018Best-of-omaha-2017.


If you are serious about reaching your goals and seeing results, these guidelines will help you do just that. And what's best is that... it's FREE!

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