Carbohydrates that are grain-based, as opposed to fruits and vegetables, are broken down into complex and simple varieties. These should form a large part of our diet because they are the best source of energy. Complex carbohydrates are incredibly rich in nutrients and give you consistent energy throughout the day. Simple carbohydrates have had most of their fibre removed and may well have been bleached and refined – for example, white bread and pasta, biscuits and cakes. Most of the goodness in simple carbohydrates has been removed along with the grain, so we don’t find as much of some of the minerals and vitamins that naturally occur in complex carbohydrates. The lack of fibre also means you won’t feel satisfied after eating.
Great complex carbs:
Wholemeal and wholegrain breads
Millet, spelt, barley, buckwheat
Should I cut carbohydrates from my diet?
Starchy foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes and rice provide valuable sources of energy, essential vitamins and minerals, and fibre, especially when you choose wholegrain versions of these foods. These foods can also be particularly settling when you’re feeling nauseous, have a sensitive stomach, or want to slow down an overactive gut – a simple bowl of steamed rice with flakes of white fish and a drizzle of olive oil can settle almost anything.
On the other hand, if you’re finding that you’re gaining too much weight, you might want to have a look at how much carbohydrate food you’re eating, as too much starch can make it difficult to lose weight. Reduce quantities and get that satisfying comfort food hit from other root vegetables, such as carrots, beetroot and celeriac, which are not only delicious but are packed with nutrients.