What’s the Difference Between Complex and Simple Carbs?


If you’re taking advice about nutrition regarding your health and/or weight – make sure the person you’re talking to knows what they’re talking about!

I was talking with a diabetic patient the other day who was struggling both with their weight and their blood sugar. The obvious question from me “Tell me what you usually eat?”

This patient was trying to eat a lot of ‘complex carbs’ like wholegrain bread and potatoes, instead of ‘simple carbs’ like sugary things.

What’s the difference between complex and simple carbs? It really doesn’t matter because it’s a completely outdated concept, and bears no relevance what-so-ever to health and weight loss.

The terms ‘simple carbs’ and ‘complex carbs’ say nothing about the glycaemic index (GI) of the particular food. The GI tells you how fast the sugar is released from a food – this is what is relevant when it comes to health and weight.

These terms should have died a quiet death as soon as the GI was discovered, but unfortunately they are still used, even by some health professionals. This is confusing at the very least, and damaging at its worst.

When it comes to good health and weight loss – getting your carb intake right is really important. The carbs that shoot your blood sugar up fast are the sort to keep to a minimum. These are the ones that keep you fat and ruin your health.

The GI for carbs is related to pure glucose – this has a GI of 100.

Let’s take mashed potato – the ‘complex carb’. This has a GI of 82, which is very high.

What’s the GI of table sugar, a ‘simple carb’. Table sugar has a GI of 65, still high but much lower than potatoes.

For those who have done my weight loss course – you’ll know I spend a lot of time teaching you about carbs, not that it’s not hard to understand, it really isn’t. But it’s REALLY important!

This week’s take home message – if anyone advises you about your diet and uses the term ‘complex’ and ‘simple’ carbs – switch your ears off and look somewhere else for you information!

Have an uber healthy week.

Dr Julie

PS If you would like a copy of my weight loss book it’s getting printed very soon. People who pre order get a signed copy 🙂


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