Protein isn’t the only answer when you are looking to provide your body with energy for your workouts, daily routine, and adventures. You need to fuel your body with carbohydrates as well. Carbs provide your body with the necessary glucose to support bodily functions and physical activity. Essentially, carbohydrates are energy. Carbs come in all shapes and sizes-- bad and good. Here is a quick guide to understanding carbohydrates and how to best use them to fuel your everyday.
Types of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates range all the way from fruits and vegetables to bread and cookies. Carbs are usually separated into simple and complex, but they are further broken down into three main categories: starches, sugars, and fiber. Simple carbohydrates represent the sugars. Complex carbohydrates mainly represent starches. And fiber can be found in both, but is more commonly found in complex.
Complex carbohydrates are defined by their long and intricate sugar molecules. These molecules take longer for the body to digest, meaning they provide a longer-lasting energy source.
As a general rule, the healthiest complex carbs are found in whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed whole grains. These foods contain carbs in their natural forms with an abundance of fiber and minerals in addition to real food energy. However, not all complex carbohydrates are considered healthy foods. They are also found in processed foods like white flour and white breads. For the added nutritional values of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, stick with whole grains and non-processed whole foods.
Simple carbohydrates are broken down very quickly by the body and provide a fast, but short-lived, source of energy. These carbs get a bad wrap because they are mostly represented by sugars. They can be found in candy and syrups as well as vegetables, milk, and honey. Sugars aren’t all that bad-- it is just best to limit your sugar intake to a small dose of natural sugars. Many real food bars contain high amounts of added sugar. Be sure to watch out for high sugar content in your favorite bars and snacks.
Keeping it simple isn’t always the best way to stay healthy. The majority of your energy intake should come from complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Carbohydrates are found in at least four of the major food groups so you have no reason to be afraid of carbs, as long as you choose healthy foods to source your carbohydrate intake.
Avoid processed and refined foods to keep your intake of carbs at a healthy, sustainable level. Harvard School of Public Health teaches us that “[highly processed and refined foods] contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.” Let the source of your energy come from unprocessed whole foods to keep you going all day long.
Kate's Complex Carbs
At Kate's Real Food we believe that great tasting sustainable energy comes from real, whole food ingredients. Our organic energy bars and bites are filled with organic, certified gluten free oats and brown rice crisps to provide your every adventure with the energy of complex carbohydrates. Shop our products and let us fuel your every day.