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Carbohydrates: Not Complicated, it’s Simple

The holidays are here which means for the next month we will all be in a food-like coma of turkey and mashed potatoes smothered in heavy gravy.  For some trying to watch what they eat, the holidays can be a nightmare to keep their willpower and avoid the 2nd helping of pumpkin pie.

Luckily there are plenty of healthy alternatives to keep fit while you enjoy the food and time spent with family.  In order to knowwhat you are going to eat, 

you must know what you are eating; so for the next few weeks I will go in depth about fats, carbohydrates and protein.

Just like fats, not all carbohydrates are created equal; you have complex carbs and simple carbs.  Carbohydrates are a source of energy with 4 calories per gram benefitting the brain and nervous system.  Your body uses carbohydrates to make glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going.

Your body can use glucose immediately or store it in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.  There are many sources for carbs, some better than others, so let’s discuss the difference between simple and complex carbs and how your body reacts to them.

It’s easy to remember the difference between complex and simple carbs because complex are comprised of fiber and starch while simple are made of sugar.  Complex take longer to digest leaving you feeling fuller for longer as simple carbs are quickly absorbed and digested.


Eating complex carbs is important to provide what your body needs.  The reason your body needs complex carbohydrates is to keep you fueled for a longer period of time, lose weight faster, and digest the foods more efficiently.  Consuming low-fat dairy, nuts, seed, whole grains, and green vegetables are perfect ways to incorporate complex carbs into your diet.

Simple carbohydrates are basic sugars with little value for your body. The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the worse the carbohydrate is for you such as white flour, soda, candy (you get the picture).  Fruits are actually simple carbohydrates, although they differ from other foods in the category, like cookies and cakes. The fiber in fruits changes the way that the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbohydrates.

Over the next few weeks will be a time to gather around the tv to watch football and stuff our faces with, well stuffing, but some of us face the challenges of maintaining a proper diet. While sometimes it is good to pig out (aka a cheat meal) at times to fire your metabolism back up, it is important to know what you’re putting in your body and how your body will react. Be sure to check back next week as I will discuss protein!

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