The difference between good carbs and bad carbs in a low-carb diet

Ever since the Atkins low-carb, high-fat diet exploded on the American scene, carbs have been branded as bad. Unfortunately, this is only half true and has led to a lot of confusion among the public.

While some carbohydrates are bad, others are good and should be the core of a healthy diet. But how can you distinguish the good carbs from the bad ones?

Before distinguishing, it is important to understand that all carbohydrates, good and bad, are made up of different types of sugar, and this can be confusing. The key is how the sugar is packaged and presented to the body.

What is the difference between good carbs and bad carbs?

Fresh fruits and vegetables

The first difference is that good carbohydrates contain naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Bad carbs, on the other hand, are the sugars that are “added” to processed foods and soft drinks and dumped into your coffee or tea.

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Another difference is that good carbohydrates are “complex”, meaning that sugars are part of a more complex configuration that includes fiber that cannot be broken down in the human digestive system. This slows down the process, and it is good because the sugar in good carbohydrates slowly penetrates the bloodstream, in a “time-released” way. This is important because a slow release of sugar slows down the insulin response. (When blood sugar enters the cells and the level in the bloodstream drops, so does insulin.)

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