Fast Carbs: How are they different from slow carbs?

Sugars, fibers, and starches are all carbs, a short for Carbohydrates. Carbs are a part of many food items. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains, and legumes are all forms of carbohydrates.

Some carbohydrates are healthy and are good to include when following a healthy lifestyle. Others are not so healthy carbs as they do more damage than good.

Therefore most people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet due to various reasons choose to completely exclude carbs that are not beneficial in any way.

That is why diet consisting of a low ratio of carbs and high protein diet is popular among health-conscious people. Carbohydrates can be broken down into two major groups, fast carbohydrates, and slow carbs. The Glycemic Index (GI) helps determine which foods are considered fast carbs and which of them are slow carbohydrates.

Slow Carbs

The glycemic index of a food is measured based on the time the carbohydrates take to turn into sugars and enter your bloodstream. A low glycemic index shows that the food has healthy carbs and it does not affect the blood sugar.

Slow carbs are a healthier option to include carbohydrates in your diet, as the body needs carbs in order to function properly. So adding slow carbs also known as complex carbs can be beneficial for your health. Foods like vegetables (most of them), whole foods, grains, nuts, beans, seeds, and legumes all come under slow carbs.

They are also rich in fiber and they provide the energy required by the body to perform various body functions. They do not spike the blood sugar levels instantly but are rather broken down slowly in the digestive tract. A diet consisting of low Glycemic Index foods can also aid in weight loss and maintaining sugar levels in diabetic patients.

Fast Carbs

Fast carbs also are known as simple carbs or fast-acting carbohydrates. Foods that consist of sugar, starch and cellulose which elevate the blood sugar quickly after consuming them are called fast carbs. They have a high glycemic index (GI) and are broken down quickly in the digestive tract, hence the name simple carbs.

These fast-acting carbohydrates are digested and absorbed in the blood in a short time period. Eating fast carbs in huge portions is usually not recommended because they tend to elevate the sugar (glucose) levels which is unhealthy for diabetic patients and overweight people.

If fast carbs are regularly included in the diet without any restrictions, it may cause health complications such as cardiovascular issues, metabolic syndromes, type II diabetes, and weight gain.

List of Fast Carbs

Sweetened Beverages

Sodas and juices are heavily loaded with sugar that is digested pretty quickly. They do not contain any fiber, fat or protein which causes the blood sugar to rise instantly.

Refined grains

Most of the fiber content of grains is removed which makes them highly digestible. Most of the baking goods are made with refined flour which makes them fast carbs

Candies and sweets

Candies and sweets do not have any nutrients with a high-calorie count. These are also listed as fast carbs.

Other foods with high glycemic index include white rice, dairy products, starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes), fruits, cereals, corn flakes, baked goods such as doughnuts, cookies, croissants, cakes, processed foods, rice cakes, white bread, cornmeal, energy bars, soda, pasta, waffles, chocolates, jam, potato chips etc.

Fast carbs are not necessarily harmful. They can be taken in moderate amounts and in smaller portions to keeping your health in mind. Fast carbs are usually beneficial as an after workout snacks due to their fast acting and fast digestive property.

They provide with instant energy after a vigorous workout which helps restore muscle tissues. Fruits like bananas, melon, or watermelon can give you a boost in energy and also give your body much needed essential nutrient, minerals, and vitamins.








Michelle M

Conducting research in a laboratory can often feel isolated so Lisa prefers writing about scientific research in healthcare. She contributes stories about the latest research in all fields related to health. Email: lisa@askhealthnews.com

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