Complex carbs are carbohydrates from non-sugar sources.
Examples of complex carbohydrates include grains (such as cereal or bread), pastas (like egg noodles or rice) and vegetables (like potatoes and green beans).
Complex carbohydrates digest much more slowly than simple carbohydrates and, as a result, provide a slower rise in blood sugar levels giving your body less immediate energy.
You have probably felt the difference between consuming simple and complex carbohydrates at some point.
If you consume a large amount of either carbohydrate type, you will feel full after finishing. However, after about 2 hours you would still be able to feel the rice or pasta (complex carbs) lying in your gut, while a meal consisting of fruit (simple carbs) would leave your stomach feeling empty after a couple of hours.
While the slower digesting of complex carbs provides the body with a much slower rise in blood sugar levels, they can still have the effect of increasing your body fat levels if they are not consumed in the proper amounts.
If you eat a meal in which complex carbohydrates account for more than 60% of the consumed calories, your blood sugar levels will still rise to a level that will promote sugar storage in your body’s fat cells.
Do not think that complex carbs are good and that simple carbohydrates are bad; regardless of the types of carbohydrates, you need to consume them in the proper ratio in relation to protein to keep your body’s insulin response from wreaking havoc on your body fat levels.
Reading Nutrition Labels
I have given examples above of the types of foods that primarily contain complex carbohydrates. However, not all foods exclusively contain one type or the other. If fact, there are many foods that will contain a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates.
But how can you know the amounts of simple and/or complex carbs contained in your food?
By knowing how to read the nutrition labels of your food sources you will be able to accurately determine the amount of simple and complex carbohydrates contained in your food. Using a nutrition label to calculate carbohydrates is a simple process but will take a small amount of practice.
A nutrition label will have a line that lists the total carbohydrates in grams. This will be the total number of grams of both simple types of carbohydrates and complex types of carbohydrates contained in the food per serving size.
The simple types of carbohydrates will be listed directly below the total carbohydrates line and will be listed as sugars. All remaining carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates or fiber.
So, if you are reading a label that gives a total carbohydrate count of 10g, a total sugars amount of 2g and 1g of fiber, the actual content is 2g of simple carbohydrates (sugars) and 7g of complex carbohydrates (8g of remaining carbs minus 1g or dietary fiber).
Now that you have a basic understanding of complex carbohydrates, you will want to be sure that you visit the links below to learn about simple carbohydrates, muscle building protein, amino acids and sources of fiber.
After you have reviewed these pages on basic bodybuilding nutrition, you will then be ready to begin following a fat loss or muscle building diet.
Your specific nutrition plan should be chosen based on your current goals, but whichever one you choose, I have provided the information you need to successfully transform your body.