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Difference Between Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

Our health should be our utmost priority. We can achieve anything that we want only if we are physically healthy and capable to do so. It does feel nice to be fit. It is very important that you have adequate amounts of energy from food to make it through the day. Among the food components, carbohydrates are the ones that give us that needed energy boost to complete our tasks.

What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are a group of food nutrients that comprise most of our daily food intake. In fact, we need about 50-60% of carbohydrates in our daily food intake to make it through the day. You might wonder why we have to take in more of carbohydrates than any other food components, such as proteins and fats. This is a simple explanation. Carbohydrates are the ones that are easily digested and used up in the body, and they are the food components that give us the energy that we need to move, function, and perform the activities of daily living. For those with strenuous and active jobs, the more they need the carbohydrates to fuel their bodies.

Carbohydrates are commonly known as sugar. This is because the most basic and the most active form of carbohydrates is glucose. It is this glucose that is present in our bloodstream and is consumed by our cells, thus, enabling them to work and function properly. Bear in mind though, that it is not only sweet foods that contain carbohydrates, but these can be found in many foods as well, for example, vegetables. But carbohydrates come in two forms, simple (simple sugars) and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are the types of carbohydrates that have the most basic chemical structure, C6H12O6 (6Carbon-12Hydrogen-6Oxygen), usually made up of one or two sugars. The most common of them with only 1 sugar-chain are glucose, fructose (found in fruits), galactose (in milk). Double sugars include sucrose (table sugar), and even honey. These carbohydrates are easily digested and used up, thus they are needed in larger amounts.

Complex carbohydrates contain 3 or more sugar groups. They are usually referred to as ‘starchy’ carbohydrates. These are digested and stay in the bloodstream longer, and have higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than that of simple sugars. Examples of food rich in complex carbohydrates are vegetables, whole grain, and brown rice.

It is important though that we consult with a nutritionist to determine the necessary amount of carbohydrates that would help us keep ourselves healthy. Too much of carbohydrates can cause health problems like obesity, or even diabetes mellitus.

You can read about this topic further since only basic details are provided here.


1. Carbohydrates comprise majority of the nutrients that we take in, giving us the needed energy.

2. Simple carbohydrates are easily digested and used up by the body an example of which is glucose.

3. Complex carbohydrates are digested longer and contain larger amounts of nutrients.

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