Simple carbohydrates are made up of sugars and can come from a variety of sources.
Some common sources of simple carbs include fruits, juices, and honey, but many carbohydrate rich foods contain a mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbs are an integral part of any fitness or bodybuilding program, but they must be used with discretion because of the insulin response they cause in your body.
Simple carbohydrates are easily and quickly digested by the body and are a good source of fast energy. Because the body digests these types of carbohydrates easily, they will cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.
When your body detects this rapid rise in blood sugar, it responds by releasing insulin, which counters this rapid rise in blood sugar levels by forcing the excess sugar into muscle tissue and fat cells.
The transfer of these sugars away from the blood stream and into your body’s muscle tissue and fat cells allows your blood sugar level to return to normal. The rapid rise of your body’s blood sugar and corresponding rise in insulin can cause a couple of problems.
First, the boost in energy you receive after consuming simple carbs disappears after a short amount of time and is usually followed by a dip in energy levels. The other downside to this rapid insulin release is that your body’s fat cells will receive any extra blood sugar that is not transferred to your muscle cells and used as energy which, over time, will cause your body fat levels to rise.
Because of this, it is important that you consume simple carbs at the right times to avoid the storage of excess blood sugar in your body’s fat cells.
Reading Nutrition Labels
I have given examples above of a few foods that primarily contain simple carbohydrates. However, not all foods exclusively contain one type or the other and usually have a mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates.
But how can you know the amounts of simple and complex carbohydrates 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 carbs 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 dietary fiber, the actual content is 2g of simple carbohydrates (sugars) and 7g of complex carbohydrates (8g of remaining carbs minus 1g or dietary fiber).
While simple carbohydrates can cause undesired fat storage, if consumed in the correct amounts at the right times, they will be an effective tool in helping you build muscle and burn fat.
You will need to visit my muscle building diet plan and/or fat loss diet plan pages for all of the information you need to know about when to consume simple carbohydrates and how much to consume to build muscle, intensify your workouts and encourage fat loss.
The diet plans, workout routines and other information on this site is all that you need to build muscle and lose fat. Using the information contained on this site, I was able to gain over 10lbs of muscle mass while reducing my body fat by 13%.