Most diet plans as advised by doctors, dieticians and nutritionists almost never have much carbohydrate containing foods in them. If by chance carbohydrates are included, one can be almost 100% sure that these are good carbs and are hence not too harmful for the body.
The difference between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates is a constant confusion for a lot of people who believe that carbohydrates in general, irrespective of whether they’re good or bad, are by their very nature bad. This is not true.
Carbohydrates are energy foods and must always be included in one’s diet. There is however a distinct difference between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates.
These are as follows:
- Chemical makeup of the carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates may be classified as complex or simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates have longer chains and hence the capability to provide more long lasting energy. Simple carbohydrates however, are made up of simple chains of basic sugar and very less fibers. These have very little or no value of energy at all.
- Carbohydrates and their sources.
Good carbohydrates are present in potatoes, multi grain and generally in more natural products. Bad carbohydrates on the other hand are present in excess in processed food and other food items such as French fries and soda.
- Calories contained in good and bad carbohydrates.
Due to their longer chains, good carbohydrates provide energy and the feeling of fullness by just taking a little amount. Bad carbohydrates on the other hand, have to be taken in excess to provide the same amount of energy. This leads to a tremendous increase in intake of calories that result in obesity.
- Fiber content in carbohydrates.
Good carbohydrates are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber helps lower blood pressure and control cholesterol. It is a great source of energy and helps manage weight. Also, high fiber containing foods are necessary to maintain regular bowel movement and prevent constipation. Bad carbohydrates do not have much fiber in them.
- Cholesterol and Trans fat.
Good carbohydrates have almost no or very little cholesterol or trans fat in them. This good carbs is a healthier option than bad carbohydrates which in contrast may sometimes be loaded with cholesterol and trans fat.
- Digestion rates of the carbohydrates.
Good carbohydrates being long chain molecules take a long time to digest. Bad carbohydrates however are composed of shorter chains and correspondingly take lesser time to digest. It is for this reason that bad carbohydrates act as an instant source of energy. The energy levels however drop down at faster rates. Energy produced by break down of good carbohydrates last longer.
- Carbohydrates and their relation to general health.
Apart from sugars, bad carbohydrates have almost no nutritional value to them. Regular intake of carbohydrates thus proves to be dangerous to health. Good carbohydrates have higher contents of nutritional value and are more preferred than bad carbohydrates.
- Carbohydrates in different food dishes.
While it is true that good carbohydrates are mostly present in grains and vegetables, some sweet packed desserts may also contain these carbohydrates. Drinks such as chocolate milkshakes that are major energy boosters also have good carbohydrates in them. Donuts and other sweet binges however are rich in bad carbohydrates.
- Is it necessary to totally cut off from bad carbohydrates?
Like everything else, too much of either carbohydrate can be bad for you. While it isn’t necessary to completely cut off from bad carbohydrates, it is definitely necessary to ensure that it is taken only in minimal amounts. Similarly, packing food with excess fiber and good carbohydrates can prove to be bad for one’s health.
- Glycemic index.
Bad carbohydrates have higher glycemic index than the good carbohydrates.