Simple Carbohydrates For Quick Energy
Simple carbohydrates, also commonly known as sugar, consist of one or two molecules. Therefore, they are often referred to as short-chain carbohydrates. The indication "Sugars" found in the nutritional information label on packaged foods can easily identify simple carbohydrates through this table of sugary foods. These molecules are absorbed particularly quickly by the body from food and quickly enter the bloodstream. Therefore, carbohydrates provide a quick but short-lived energy boost. This leads to spikes in blood sugar and a high insulin level. That is why they are colloquially known as fast carbohydrates.
Types of Simple Carbohydrates
The simple carbohydrates can be divided into two groups:
- Monosaccharides (simple sugars)
- Disaccharides (double sugars, consisting of two monosaccharides that need to be broken down with enzymes)
The following compounds are part of the group of monosaccharides and can be found in plant-based foods:
- Glucose (also known as dextrose; foods high in glucose)
- Fructose (fruit sugar; does not increase insulin levels as it is largely metabolized independently of insulin; foods high in fructose)
The following disaccharides are found in plant-based foods:
- Sucrose (also known as table sugar or household sugar)
Simple carbohydrates can mainly be found in (dried) fruits, durum wheat pasta, polished rice, sweets, sweet pastries, and soft drinks. They contain many short-chain molecules that are quickly absorbed by the body and then enter the bloodstream.
Weight gain caused by simple carbohydrates
When too many simple carbohydrates are consumed over a regular and extended period of time, it often leads to weight gain. In addition, cells may lose their insulin sensitivity (sensitivity of body cells to insulin), which can lead to insulin resistance. This is usually manifested in the form of diabetes, where glucose levels in the blood are constantly elevated. Moreover, studies have shown that a consistently high insulin level hinders the burning of body fat, making weight loss ultimately difficult 1. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for complex carbohydrates.