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There are many diets out there that limit or even eliminate carbohydrates in the diet. This leads people to believe that carbohydrates are the enemy. The truth is that carbs are not the enemy but you have to make the right choice when it comes to carbs. There are good and bad forms of carbohydrates. Let’s simplify what carbs are and which ones you should be consuming for better health.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are essential food nutrients that the body turns into glucose, which gives the body energy. Think about it this way, carbohydrates are turned into fuel for your body to live. Just like your car needs fuel to run, your body needs carbohydrates to live.

What Foods Contain Carbohydrates?

Oftentimes, many people think of carbs as bread, pasta, and potatoes but the truth is there are many other types of foods out there that contain carbs. Some other examples of foods containing carbohydrates are beans, fruit, and vegetables.

Are Carbohydrates Bad for You?

The answer to this question is more complex than just a yes or no. There are many carb-containing foods that are healthy and should be consumed such as beans, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. There are also many carb-containing foods that are not as good for health such as baked goods, fried foods, cereal, soda, and processed foods. These types of carbs should be limited.

Simple Carbs vs Complex Carbs

Simple carbs are digested by the body quickly and can cause glucose levels to spike. This can give you a burst of energy but then leave you tired and needing more. Some examples of simple carbs include donuts, cake, soda, and chips.

Complex carbs are digested more slowly which helps the body maintain a steadier glucose level over time. These carbs give energy that lasts longer and allows you to feel more full. Some examples of complex carbs include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain foods.

The Bottom Line

No one has the perfect diet. Focus on consuming more complex carbohydrates to better fuel your body and limit your simple carbohydrate intake. Although you want to avoid simple carbohydrates, it does not mean that you can’t enjoy a piece of birthday cake every once in a while. Balance and moderation are key to enjoying eating and fueling your body.


Cleveland Clinic. (2022, July 5). Good vs. bad carbs: What foods should you eat? (and which ones should you avoid?). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved July 13, 2022