The difference between good and bad carbs on a low carb diet

Since Atkins The low-carb, high-fat diet exploded onto the American scene, carbs were labeled as bad. Unfortunately, this is only half true and has caused confusion among the public.

Indeed, while some carbohydrates are bad, others are good and should be at the heart of a healthy diet. But how do you tell the good carbs from the bad?

Before making this distinction, it’s important to understand that all carbs, 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?

The first distinction is that good carbs contain natural sugars like those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Bad carbs, on the other hand, are the sugars “added” to processed foods and soft drinks, and dumped in your coffee or tea.

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A second distinction is that good carbs are “complex,” meaning the 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 that’s good because the sugars in the good carbs enter the bloodstream slowly, in a “time-delayed” way. This is important because a slow release of sugar dampens the insulin response. (As blood sugar enters cells and blood levels drop, insulin also drops.)

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