Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates

Carbohydrates consist of three major components namely, starch, fiber, and sugar. Sugar is a simple carb while Starch and Fiber are complex carbs. The quality of nutrient is determined based on how much of these components are found in a food.

Complex carbohydrates are built up of sugar molecules, strung together in a long complex chains. Complex carbohydrates can be found in foods like beans, peas, vegetables and whole grains.

Both complex and simple carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the body and consumed as energy. Glucose is used in the brain and cells of the body. The unused glucose is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen and used later.

Here are a few examples of complex carbohydrates:

  • Beta-glucan; Lentinan;
  • Sizofiran;
  • Zymosan;
  • Cellulose;
  • Chitin;
  • Chitosan;
  • Dextrin/Dextran;
  • Fructose/Fructan;
  • Inulin;
  • Galactose/Galactan;
  • Glucose/Glucan (Glycogen);
  • Hemicellulose;
  • Levan beta 2→6;
  • Lignin;
  • Mannan;
  • Pectin;
  • Starch (Amylopectin Amylose);
  • Xanthan gum;
Amylose - Complex Carbohydrates

Amylose – A Complex Carbohydrate

Complex Carbohydrates Foods

Foods containing Complex carbohydrate provide minerals, vitamins, and fiber that are essential for good health. Most of the carbohydrates come from complex carbohydrates and natural sugars, rather than processed sugars that do not have vitamins and minerals present in natural and complex carbohydrates. Refined sugars are also known as empty calories since they have very less nutritional value.

The More Complex, the Better

The complex carbohydrates consist of more nutrients compared to simple carbs, since they contain more fiber and digest slowly. It also makes complex carbs more filling which indicates that they are a better option to control weight. Fiber is essential since it promotes regularity in the bowel and controls cholesterol.

Major sources of dietary fiber are as follows:

  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Beans

Starch also exists in many of the same foods. Certain foods are considered to be more starch than fibrous in nature like potatoes.

The major high starch containing food are:

  • Cereal
  • Wheat bread
  • Corn
  • Oats

Complex carbohydrates make it easier to maintain body weight, and shield you against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes in the future.

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Practise This Question

Which of the following is true for osmosis?