A close up of several different types of bread.

Our Love Affair with Simple Carbs

How to make smarter choices for energy and weight loss.

The Simple Carb American Love Affair

All carbohydrates are not created equal. The macronutrient carbohydrate includes simple AND complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs include everything from a white puffy baguette, pasta and white rice to pizza, cookies, muffins and cake. The standard American diet is heavy on simple carbs–which are not helpful for weight loss. Simple carbs encourage energy swings, digest more quickly and are lacking in basic nutrients.

Moving more to a Mediterranean diet philosophy shifts carbs from simple to complex. Complex carbs include: 100% whole wheat, quinoa and old fashioned oats and they are better for weight loss because they are slower to digest, keep you fuller longer, are more nutrient dense, and are a preferred source of energy in the body.

Stay Steady

Blood sugar balance or sustained energy through the day can make or break a weight loss goal. Our carbohydrates break down to sugars that give us energy. If you flood your system with sugars, you have a burst of energy. But, as high as you go, is as low as you go with energy–and therein lies the problem.

For weight loss, steadiness in energy sets you up for making good decisions. If you have low energy, it’s WAY more likely you’ll grab something sweet and sugary for the quick energy burst that a simple carb can give you. Think donut, crackers, pumpkin bread or a sugary drink from Starbucks. If you are steady and methodical about your food, you can more easily choose a mid-morning snack that is on plan for the day. Blood sugar steadiness helps to keep your head on straight, so that you can choose your food and step closer to your goals.

Timing is a Big Player

If you wait too long to eat, you’re much more likely to give into the easiest and quickest pick-me-up you can find. Quick food is normally starch and sugar-heavy (simple carbs) and is not great for weight loss. Timed eating at 3-4 hour intervals keeps you from getting hangry and you’ll be much more likely to choose real food (complex carbs plus healthy fats and proteins), not packaged food (again, simple carbs).

Planning and prepping your day’s food also helps you keep to your schedule. If you’ve planned your day, you’ll execute your plan–it’s the easiest way to deal with food. No need to “grab” food when you have delicious whole food at the ready.

Just by shifting from simple to complex carbs, timing your food every 3 to 4 hours and choosing wisely, you’ll be off to a good start for weight loss.

For more info on blood sugar balance, good energy or feeling your best through smarter food choices, please contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle, but we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body.

Read more on sugar issues and book a free 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson.