Simple vs. Complex

Carbs. One day they're evil, the next they're overindulged. What are we to think? The diet world would have us obsessed over the bun of a burger. "I'd like mine without the bun, please," is a common line now a days. (Which, if you're out at McDonalds eating a burger, fry, and soda, I don't think the bun is your biggest concern.)

So what is the trick with these carbs? And does it really matter if we're eating a lot of simple or complex carbs?

Simple Carbohydrates are turned into glucose quickly while complex carbs take longer to change into glucose. What does this do for you? Simple carbs give you quick boosts of energy while complex lengthen out sustained energy for your body. Translation: complex carbs fill you up much better then simple.

Simple Carbohydrates include:

fruit juice
refined sugars
refined flours

Complex Carbohydrates include:

whole grain breads
whole grain cereals
whole grain pasta

Here is a great example: the difference between white rice, an enriched grain, which falls in the simple carb category vs. brown rice, which is a complex carb. Interestingly, both are rice, but both with give energy in a different way and fill your appetite differently. The brown rice will sustain you much longer then the white rice. Another bonus to filling most of your daily carbs with complex is the additional fiber, vitamins, and nutrients found within most. The brown rice, for example, has about 3.5g of fiber per cup, while the white rice doesn't even have 1g per cup.

Brown Rice (one cup) White Rice (one cup)
232 223
4.88 g 4.10 g
49.7 g 49.6 g
1.17 g 0.205 g
Dietary Fiber
3.32 g 0.74 g
Thiamin (B1)
0.176 g 0.223 g
Riboflavin (B2)
0.039 mg 0.021 mg
Niacin (B3)
2.730 mg 2.050 mg
Vitamin B6
0.294 mg 0.103 mg
10 mcg 4.1 mcg
Vitamin E
1.4 mg 0.462 mg
72.2 mg 22.6 mg
142 mg 57.4 mg
137 mg 57.4 mg
26 mg 19 mg
1.05 mg 0.841 mg

(Chart taken from

In conclusion, eat both simple and complex carbs, but mostly complex in your diet. When eating simple carbs, eat fruit, yogurt, and milk, and avoid the refined white and brown sugars, enriched breads, cereals and sweets.

You CAN turn many of your current "simple" foods into complex, which would totally improve the function of your body, appetite, and energy.


White to brown rice
White to whole wheat bread
White hot dog/hamburger buns to whole wheat buns
Fruit Loops to Chex or Cheerios
Enriched pasta to whole grain pasta, or a mix of both

Give you and your kids something to actually satisfy their appetite!