06 Apr 2017
Made up of just one or two sugar molecules, simple carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy. Found naturally in fruits (fructose) dairy products (lactose) and table sugar (sucrose), simple carbohydrates are digested quickly by the body and provide you with an effective energy boost. High protein yoghurts, fresh fruits and low-fat dairy are the best choices for a sweet pre-workout hit, and should be eaten pre and post-workout.
Simple carbs found in processed and refined sugars such as syrups, soft drinks and lollies hold little nutritional value and should be consumed in moderation.
Comprised of 2+ sugar molecules strung together, complex carbohydrates are digested slower by the body, providing a slow and stable release of energy. Complex starch-based carbs like whole grains, peas and beans offer a range of beneficial vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Once a complex carbohydrate is refined (where machinery has removed the high-fibre components from the grain), it loses its complex structure, and takes on the properties of a simple carbohydrate. White bread, white rice and white flour are all examples of refined carbohydrates, and should be replaced with unrefined alternatives like whole-grain bread or brown rice.
Rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, fibrous carbohydrates are not digested and are important for keeping the digestive system running effectively. Low in calories, fibrous carbs consist predominantly of plant foods like dark green leafy vegetables, and are effective at keeping you fuller for longer (a great choice for weight loss).
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