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

Ever since the low-carb, high-fat Atkins diet exploded onto the American scene, carbohydrates have been labeled bad. Unfortunately, this is only half true and has led to a lot of confusion among the public.

In fact, while some carbohydrates are bad, others are good and should be the centerpiece of a healthy diet. But how can you tell the good from the bad carbs?

Before making this distinction, it is important to understand that all carbohydrates, good and bad, are made up of various 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 carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates?

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

Smartwatch for calorie tracking:That’s why your smartwatch isn’t great at predicting calories burned during a workout

A second distinction is that good carbohydrates are “complex,” which means 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 is good because the sugars in the good carbohydrates enter the bloodstream slowly, in a “time-release” fashion. This is important because a slow release of sugar dampens the insulin response. (As blood sugar enters cells and levels in the bloodstream decrease, insulin also decreases.)