Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Benefit of Complex Carbohydrates Over Simple Carbohydrates

February 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While carbohydrates are an American staple, people who focus on healthy eating know that processed carbohydrates are harmful to your health. These foods are usually easy to grab on the go, taste good because they are high in sugar, and are sold in many forms in the grocery store.

However, not all carbohydrates are bad for you. There are a lot of nutritious carbohydrates that provide your body with long-lasting energy with their fiber, iron, protein, and vitamin contents.

Type of Carbohydrates

The two kinds of carbohydrates are simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include foods like baked goods, cookies, and cereals. If you are aiming to eat a healthy diet, it is important to avoid these foods. The main problem with simple carbohydrates is their sugar content. Complex carbohydrates, however, are foods that your body can use as fuel. Some common complex carbohydrates are beans, whole grains, and oats.

While simple carbohydrates provide your body with a quick boost by putting in your bloodstream, spiking your blood sugar level and setting it up for a crash, complex carbohydrates are made of longer chains of carbon molecules, which means it takes a longer amount of time for the body to break them down.

Simple carbohydrates are essentially pure sugar, which has no nutritional benefit. Sugar leads to a wide range of health problems, including inflammation, heart disease, premature aging, and cancer.

Swapping Good Carbs for Bad

An easy way to start cutting simple carbs out of your diet is to replace them with complex carbs. Try eating fruits, legumes, and vegetables instead of pasta and cereal. This will also add more vitamins and nutrients to your diet.

Here are some low-carb substitutions for people who want to improve their diet without compromising on taste.

Sweet Potato Toast

Rather than using a traditional piece of Wonder bread in the morning for your breakfast, peel a whole sweet potato and slice it up into the shape of toast. This will cut down on the sugar in your breakfast and add fiber and vitamins A and C that bread will not give you. Stick the slices of sweet potato in your toaster and then top it as you see fit.

Some healthy ideas for toppings include a slice of brie cheese, a spread of hummus, or smoked salmon. You can even make an egg sandwich, just avoid using too much butter.

Mashed turnips

Mashed potatoes are a staple in the American diet, but turnips are a different starchy vegetable that only has two-thirds of the calories of potatoes. Turnips also provide a lot of fiber, which helps gastrointestinal health. Turnips have vitamins and antioxidants that white potatoes don’t, including vitamins A, C and K.

Making mashed turnips is as easy as making mashed potatoes. Just wash them before peeling and steaming them. You can also bake them and scoop out the inside, like you would do with an autumn squash. Mash them together and add some grass-fed raw milk, a small amount of butter and a sprinkle of cheese.

Fava bean flour

Fava beans are a rich source of nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. They also provide a lot of fiber and protein. While fava beans originally come in pods, they also come in the form of flour. This is essentially just very finely ground fava beans into a powder. Fava bean flour is a great alternative to all-purpose flour and it works well in almost every recipe that calls for traditional flour.

Lettuce wraps

Rather than making a sandwich with traditional white bread, use the lettuce that you would typically put inside your sandwich to wrap its contents. Lettuce can be used to replace bread in several forms of sandwiches, including wraps and taco shells.

Try adding some extra flavor with seasoned white beans wrapped in kale leaves, and topped with a spicy marinara. Substituting leafy greens for bread is a nutritious way to cut down on calories when you’re craving a sandwich and can cut up to 300 calories per meal.

Apple Sandwich

Another great alternative for bread is to replace it with apple slices. These hold a sandwich together and add a bit of sweetness without the unnatural sugar. Simply slice an apple to create two circular slices that are as thick as bread. Spread some nut butter on each apple slice, and top each layer with your choice of toppings, including cinnamon, dried fruit, or seeds. Press the two sides of the sandwich together, which will keep its contents intact.

Whipped Cauliflower

Cauliflower is surprisingly versatile, and can easily be used as a replacement for potatoes. Often, unsuspecting people do not even realize that they are not eating potatoes.

Cauliflower is very superior to potatoes when it comes to its nutritional value. A potato has two grams of fiber and a whopping 21 grams of carbohydrates. However, steamed cauliflower provides you with three grams of fiber and a mere 5 grams of carbohydrates.

Cauliflower or Broccoli Rice

Cauliflower florets can also be chopped up in a food processor until they resemble rice. This creates a delicious side dish that helps you avoid the excess carbohydrates. Add some flavoring such as onion or powder with a bit of salt.

Preparing broccoli rice is also easy. Just put the florets into a food processor and then steam them with a pinch of salt and a small slice of grass-fed butter. Broccoli rice is a great source of fiber, and vitamins K and B6, which lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Carrot Noodles

While people have been making spiralized zucchini for a while now, using carrots for the same purpose work just as well. Having a pasta substitute helps you eat fewer carbohydrates and gives you a crunchy texture that you will begin to crave. Try topping the carrots with various sauces, such as Thai peanut sauce to create a flavorful low-carb meal.

Spaghetti Squash

This is another popular substitute for regular pasta that people adore. Using spaghetti squash not only cuts carbs, but also provides you with important vitamins such as potassium, fiber, and folate. One cup of spaghetti squash will spare you about 30 grams of unnecessary carbohydrates.

To make spaghetti squash, slice a squash lengthwise and put it in a baking dish with the cut side up. Put some salt and butter on it to make sure it does not dry out while it cooks, and bake it in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees. Once it is cooked, use a fork to scrape out strings that will resemble spaghetti. Serve spaghetti squash just like you would serve traditional spaghetti with marinara sauce or some ricotta cheese and herbs.

Making these alternatives to simple carbohydrates can help you lose weight while also providing you will the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Try to eat foods that are as close to their original form as possible, rather than those that have been processed in a factory.

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Frank Salvatore