Whats the Skinny on Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

As a fitness professional, I hear these questions on a regular basis….”What’s the Skinny On Eating Carbs?”…..”Are all carbs bad?”….”Should I avoid all carbs?”


Here is the skinny on what I know to be true about Carbohydrates:
2. Not all carbs are created equally
3. Carbohydrates are our bodies NUMBER 1 fuel source for movement and exercise.

Carbohydrates are an important part to a balanced diet, especially regarding weight management/weight loss. But knowing the difference between good carbs and bad carbs can be loaded with confusion. Let’s simplify this by discussing the difference between the good and the bad.

Simple Carbohydrates(The Bad) – are composed of simple sugars that have very little, if any nutritional benefits and added value to your fat loss needs. The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the worse the carbohydrate is for you.

Although Fruits and vegetables are actually simple carbohydrates, they are an exception to the rule. The fiber in fruits and vegetables changes the way that the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them more like complex carbohydrates.

Examples of acceptable fruits and vegetables include:
1. Berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
2. Apples
3. Leafy Greens
4. Kale
5. Asparagus
6. Broccoli
7. Cauliflower
8. Green Beans
9. Peppers
10. Tomatoes
11. Sugar/Snow Peas
12. Brussel Sprouts
13. Collard Greens
14. Zucchini
15. Cucumbers
16. Celery
17. Onions

Simple Carbohydrates to completely avoid are:
1. Soda
2. Candy
3. Artificial Syrups
4. Sugar
5. White rice, white bread, and white pasta
6. Potatoes (technically a complex carb)
7. Pastries and desserts
8. Squash
9. Cereals
10. Fruit Juices

Complex Carbohydrates(The Good) – like whole grains and legumes have longer chains of sugar molecules; which usually take more time for the body to break down and utilize as energy. This provides you with a more even amount of energy to use. Complex Carbs also have a lower sugar load (glycemic load), higher amounts of fiber, minerals and vitamins.

Because Complex Carbs are much lower on the glycemic index, you won’t feel hunger pains like you get from eating high sugary foods. Hunger pains are your bodies response to releasing insulin into the blood stream when consuming simple sugars found in foods like cake. When you experience an insulin spike you are more likely to consume more food and more calories.

Examples of Complex Carbohydrates are:
1. Whole Grain Breads
2. Oatmeal
3. Legumes
4. Brown Rice
5. Whole Wheat Durham Pasta
6. Buckwheat
7. Nuts & Seeds
8. Chick Peas
9. Lentils

The bottom line: Just be sensible about the carbs you choose. Skip low-nutrient dessert, consider the levels of sugar and fiber in carbs, and focus on healthy whole grains, fruits, and veggies to get the energy your body needs every day.