Good vs. Bad Carbs

Are carbs bad for us?  Yes and no.

First, this subject matter varies depending on your lifestyle.  Daily carb intake depends on your activity level, overall wellness, and other factors.

Considering that carbohydrates represent a broad spectrum of foods, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this, as different carbs break down differently within the body.

So, what is a carb?

Carbohydrates are commonly broken down into either COMPLEX (whole) or SIMPLE (mostly refined).

Complex carbohydrates refer to sugars with a complex molecular structure of three or more parts. Because of their intricate structure,  it takes the body longer to break them down. They usually contain valuable minerals, vitamins, and fiber which aids in overall health and digestion.   They offer continuous, sustainable energy and less blood sugar roller coasters. I.e. your friend. 


Some fresh unsweetened fruits

Non-starchy vegetables

Whole grains (whole grain rice, oats, barley, quinoa, corn, etc)

Nuts and seeds of all types

Unsweetened nut butters

Unsweetened coconut

Whole legumes (beans, peas, lentils)


Unsweetened salsa


Unsweetened pickles

Soy products (like tofu and unsweetened or sugar-free soy milk)

100% stone-ground wholegrain breads or crackers without sugar added

Unsweetened tomato sauce and other unsweetened, starch-free sauces

Herbs and spices


Simple carbohydrates consist of a simple molecular construction of one or two parts and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. They offer little value for your body and can lead to negative health effects. Consuming simple carbs results in a crash that can trigger hunger and cravings for more high-carb foods.  I.e. your enemy. 


Table sugar/white sugar (aka sucrose)

Confectioner’s sugar (powdered white sugar)

Honey (Even though honey exists in nature and isn’t refined, it is a pure sugar that is difficult to obtain in significant quantities without special equipment or risk. Honey affects our health in exactly the same way that other sugars do.)

Agave syrup

Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup

Brown sugar

Maple syrup


Dextrose, dextran, dextrin, maltodextrin

FRUIT JUICES except for lemon/lime juice. Most fruit juices require special equipment to produce in significant quantities.

ALL KINDS OF FLOUR including wheat, oat, legume (pea and bean), rice, and corn flours. 100% stoneground, whole meal flours are less refined and not as unhealthy as other types of flours because they are not as finely ground and take longer to digest.

INSTANT/REFINED GRAINS including instant hot cereals like instant oatmeal, white rice, polished rice, and instant rice

REFINED STARCHES such as corn starch, potato starch, modified food starch–essentially any powdered ingredient with the word “starch” in it


So, complex (whole) carbohydrates are GOOD for your body in moderation, and simple (refined) carbohydrates offer minimal nutritional value and increased blood sugar levels. . . which = bad for your body.

If you are including carbs in your diet, reclaim real foods by choosing WHOLE carbohydrates with MINIMAL sugar and/or additives.