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Making Sense of Foods

Carbohydrates: Simple versus Complex

Simple carbohydrates are sugars. All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.

Some food sources of simple carbohydrates:

  • Table sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Jams, jellies
  • Fruit drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • Candy

Complex carbohydrates may be referred to as dietary starch and are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. They are often rich in fiber, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals.

These whole plant foods are great sources of complex carbohydrates:

  • Green vegetables
  • Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
  • Beans, lentils, and peas

complex carbohydrates

 

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