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Difference between good and bad carbohydrates

Carbohydrate foods actually accompany us all day. In many households, the morning begins with crispy rolls, toast, pancakes or muesli, at lunchtime there is often…

Carbohydrate foods actually accompany us all day. In many households, the morning begins with crispy rolls, toast, pancakes or muesli, at lunchtime there is often a large portion of bread, South Indian dishes, while in the afternoon a sweet snack lands on the plate. This accumulates a lot of calories every day – especially when we reach for bad carbohydrates that contain plenty of sugar. But what are actually good and bad carbohydrates and how do they differ from one another?

In order to be able to digest carbohydrates, they are first broken down into the smallest components before the gastrointestinal tract can convert them into glucose. More precisely, glucose is sugar that we can quickly use and even store as an energy supplier.

However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Although good and bad carbohydrates provide the same amount of glucose, the sugar molecules are used up at different rates. The biggest difference between good and bad carbohydrates lies in the length of their molecular chains and their composition.

Good and bad carbohydrates and their molecular chains

Basically, the shorter the molecular chains, the simpler and worse the carbohydrates are. Carbohydrates with short molecular chains can be metabolized in a very short time, but they cause the blood sugar level to rise sharply. The stronger and faster the blood sugar level rises, the faster it falls again. This, in turn, can lead to food cravings that call for more (simple) carbohydrates to be consumed.

Simple sugars – monosaccharides

Simple sugars are grape sugar (glucose) and fruit sugar (fructose), which are also found in most types of fruit, as well as in honey and sweets. They provide energy quickly – but also make the insulin level rise very quickly. With the exception of fruit, simple sugars are almost free of vitamins and minerals and are of little use to the body.

Double sugar – disaccaride

Double sugars are normal household sugar, lactose and malt sugar, which also cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and the associated food cravings.

Multiple sugars – polysaccharides

Multiple sugars are good carbohydrates made up of long chains of molecules. In contrast to single and double sugar, complex carbs can only be broken down very slowly by the body, which in turn leads to a long feeling of satiety. Since the insulin level hardly rises when consuming complex carbohydrates, there are no cravings here.

Why Carbs are good for you?

In order to be able to digest carbohydrates, they are first broken down into the smallest components before the gastrointestinal tract can convert them into glucose. More precisely, glucose is sugar that we can quickly use and even store as an energy supplier.

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However, not all carbs are created equal. Although good and bad carbohydrates provide the same amount of glucose, the sugar molecules are used up at different rates. The biggest difference between good and bad carbs lies in the length of their molecular chains and their composition.

Good and bad carbohydrates and their molecular chains

Basically, the shorter the molecular chains, the simpler and worse the carbohydrates are. Carbohydrates with short molecular chains can be metabolized in a very short time, but they cause the blood sugar level to rise sharply. The stronger and faster the blood sugar level rises, the faster it falls again. This, in turn, can lead to food cravings that call for more (simple) carbohydrates to be consumed.

Simple sugars – monosaccharides

Simple sugars are grape sugar (glucose) and fruit sugar (fructose), which are also found in most types of fruit, as well as in honey and sweets. They provide energy quickly – but also make the insulin level rise very quickly. With the exception of fruit, simple sugars are almost free of vitamins and minerals and are of little use to the body.

Double sugar – disaccaride

Double sugars are normal household sugar, lactose and malt sugar, which also cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and the associated food cravings.

Multiple sugars – polysaccharides

Multiple sugars are good carbohydrates made up of long chains of molecules. In contrast to single and double sugar, complex carbs can only be broken down very slowly by the body, which in turn leads to a long feeling of satiety. Since the insulin level hardly rises when consuming complex carbohydrates, there are no cravings here.

Why Carbs are good for you?

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