The carbohydrate is your body’s preferred source of energy. Your body can most efficiently turn a carbohydrate into ATP, which is your body’s form of energy. Carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules and exist in simple and complex forms. The difference between a simple and complex carbohydrate lies within the molecular makeup of the carbohydrate.
Think of carbohydrates as chains of sugar molecules. For the body to use these chains, the chain needs to be broken apart into single links (glucose molecules). The longer the chain, the more complex the carbohydrate, because the longer it takes the body to breakdown the chain and utilize the individual links. These chains can also be branched as well, similar to the branches on a tree. The more branched, the more complex as well.
A basic example of a simple sugar is a single glucose molecule. There is no chain, only the single molecule of glucose. An example of a more complex carbohydrate is maltodextrin, which consists of a chain of glucose molecules. Maltodextrin is still fairly simple, but it is more complex than a single glucose molecule alone.
Why does this matter? Well, the simpler the carb, the more dramatic effect it has on your body as a result of its digestion. If you want immediate energy to burn, simple is the way to go. But for times when you aren’t going to be burning your carbs you ingest immediately, complex is best. I can elaborate on this further if you’d like, just email your questions.
Simple carbs can be found in foods such as soda, candy, white bread, white pasta, fruit juice, and white rice. Complex carbs can be found in whole wheat breads, wheat pasta, fibrous vegetables, and brown rice.
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