Complex Carbs and Low GI Foods Promote Health

Good carb and Bad carb


There is a difference between good or complex and bad or simple carbohydrates.

Good carbs promote health, get absorbed slowly into the body, and help us to avoid blood sugar level fluctuations and spikes.

Bad carbs are in the form of processed and refined carbohydrates and include refined grains, added sugar, and white sugar. The list of foods with complex carbohydrates includes whole wheat bread, basmati rice, rye bread, spinach, and fat-free and low-fat yogurt.

The infographic introduces the concepts of glycemic index and glycemic load and groups foods into low GI and high GI foods.

Foods with low GI include noodles, canned tomato soup, skimmed milk, and macaroni. Such foods are beneficial for dieters who want to achieve better insulin and blood sugar control.

Low GI foods reduce the risk for breast cancer, gallbladder cancer, coronary heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

The list of high GI foods includes white rice, puffed wheat, jacket potato, cornflakes, and baguette. According to a study by scientists from Sydney, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high GI foods increase the risk for cancer, heart problems, and diabetes.

Finally, alcohol should be used in moderation because it is high in calorie content.



Good carbs vs Bad carbs



What are carbs?

Cellulose, starches, and sugars are the three main types.

  • Cellulose is a component of plant matter, dietary fiber, and a type of indigestible carbohydrate. It provides volume and reduces calories in foods. Fiber helps prevent conditions such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, and constipation;
  • Sugars come in three types: galactose, fructose, and glucose. The excessive consumption of sugar increases the risk for diabetes and overweight;
  • Starches are carbohydrates that raise blood glucose levels rapidly. Foods that contain starches include beans, corn, and grains.


Good and bad carbs

Good carbs offer a number of health benefits:

  • Complex carbohydrates retain their wheat germ and nutrients during processing;
  • They have low GI;
  • They also lower the risk for overweight, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes;

Unlike them, bad carbs:

  • Increase the risk for heart disease;
  • Convert into fat quickly and cannot supply adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins;
  • Are calorie-dense.

Foods high in bad carbs:

The list of foods includes products such as refined sugar, soft drinks, and white bread. Soft drinks, for example, are low in minerals and vitamins and are packed with refined sugars. Germ and bran are removed from many foods to increase their shelf life.

Foods that are highly processed are empty of nutritional value.

Foods high in good carbs:

Examples of foods include whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal. They are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and healthy fiber. These foods take longer to digest and absorb.


Glycemic index

The glycemic index ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100 to measure their glycemic response. It measures how quickly glucose or blood sugar rises above the optimum level.

Starchy vegetables and carbohydrate-rich foods cause blood sugar levels to spike. Such foods are winter squash, potatoes, packaged sweeteners, split peas, and others. They cause excessive insulin secretion that leads to a number of problems:

  1. Overweight and obesity
  2. Increased appetite and overeating
  3. Insulin resistance
  4. Hypertension
  5. Lower good cholesterol and higher bad cholesterol
  6. Increased risk for type 2 diabetes
  7. High triglycerides
  8. Increased risk for breast and prostate cancer
  9. Cardiovascular disease
  10. Hormonal fluctuations



Glycemic Load

The Glycemic Load is a value that shows how different foods affect blood sugar levels. There is a simple formula to calculate GL. Multiply the carbohydrate content of a food in grams by its GI and divide by 100. Serving size plays a role.

Foods fall into three categories:

  • High GL of over 120
  • Medium GL of 80 to 120
  • Low GL of less than 80

Foods with low GI and GL promote weight loss, help control diabetes, improve blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk for cardiovascular problems. Foods with a low glycemic index value include linseed, soya, lettuce, broccoli, walnuts, hummus, and meat ravioli.


Carbohydrates and alcohol

Alcohol is high in calorie content and low in carbohydrates.

Beer, for example, raises blood sugar levels if consumed to excess. It has little impact on blood sugar and weight if you drink in moderation.

Moderation is the key, and alcohol may actually prevent diabetes and heart problems.

One study has found that people who consume small amounts of distilled drinks, wine, and beer are at a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Note that distilled alcohol has no carbohydrates, which makes it difficult to measure its glycemic value.


Author Bio: John Collins writes about health, nutrition and dieting. For better results it is good to know the difference between good cabs and bad carbs when dieting. If want to read more on the subject you can visit



    Gera is a techie & foodie passionate about how to succeed in social media. He focuses also on successful blogging tips and food connections. You can connect with him on Google +. Subscribe to his Free WPulsar Newsletter about WordPress Plugin & Theme Reviews, Blogging and Social Media.


    Great info! I have to really really really be better about controlling sugar!!


      It’s not very easy, I know. If you really want to control the bad carbs, you have to give up a lot of processed foods and soft drinks.


    Comprehensive post on carbohydrates. I was not aware that rice, potatoes and pasta were bad carbs. I thought that sweets, soda drinks and pastries were bad carbs.


      Yes, all foods that contain simple sugars are not good for you…

    Deeba Rajpal (

    I love the infographics. Nicely done post!


    Very informative. Good post. It might be helpful to mention those carbohydrates such as gels, which are quickly absorbed into the system are sometimes needed when the body is being pushed through an endurance activity.


      Thanks Joanne, we may update the infographic in the future and more info.


    A very informative post! thank you for the precious information. I’ve reduced bad carbs in my diet and I feel a lot better now…




    Thanks for the kind words.


    Low Carb diets are known to help people with diabetes.


    I’m a carb freak – I even use a calculator to make sure I don’t exceed my daily carbs ratio

    Donna Menner

    We still have to realize that even though something may be low carb, or good for us such as oatmeal, we still have to watch portion size. I would say many people put more oatmeal in their bowl for breakfast than what the actual serving size is. Portion control is very important too.

    Wade Balsdon

    Very important to understand the difference between good and bad carbs. Make the change to complex carbs and see the difference in your health.

    Comments are closed