Complex vs Simple Carbs: Which One Is Better?

Carbohydrates are basically of two types: simple and complex carbohydrates. In this article, we are going to discuss these two types and their effect on our bodies.

Complex vs Simple Carbs

Complex carbohydrates are generally a more stable source of energy. They take more time to digest properly. Simple carbohydrates are easy to digest but do not have enough nutritional value.

Simple carbohydrates contain shorter sugar molecule chains than complex carbohydrates. Our body can convert these chains into glucose to produce energy. Therefore, complex carbs are a greater source of energy as well.

There are multiple effects as well as differences between these two types of carbs. Here we are going to discuss them all.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Complex vs Simple Carbs

Complex vs Simple Carbs – What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are a type of biomolecule that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. The origin of the name ‘Carbohydrate’ is from its molecules only. The ratio of hydrogen and oxygen is 1:2 but it can also depend upon the type of carbs in a food.

Carbohydrates supply glucose in our bodies to produce the required energy. Some good examples of carbohydrates are sugar, fiber, starch, etc.

An Overview of Simple Carbohydrates

There are multiple food items in the market which contain simple carbohydrates. Some of them are good for our health but some can be harmful as well. Multiple fruits and vegetables are high in minerals and vitamins along with simple carbohydrates. Milk and all dairy products also contain simple carbs but also have vitamin D, calcium, and protein, which are beneficial.

Products like candy, table sugar, syrup, sugary drinks, concentrated fruit juice, brown or white sugar, etc contain simple carbs without any additional nutrition. It is better to avoid these kinds of food items as much as possible if you want to reduce weight and achieve good health.

An Overview of Complex Carbohydrates

As the name suggests complex carbohydrates are multiple complex sugar molecules that are strung together with multiple components. The molecule in complex carbohydrates needs to consist of three or more three polysaccharides. Your body needs more time to digest complex carbs to produce energy. This way you do not get hungry for a long time and prevent yourself from consuming unhealthy food. This is beneficial for weight loss and for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Two types of food contain complex carbs: one is dietary fiber and the other is starch.

The main sources of dietary fiber are fruits and nuts, vegetables, beans, whole grains, etc. whereas the main sources of starch are potatoes, oats, rice, peas, corn cereal, whole wheat bread, etc.

Major Differences Between Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

There are multiple differences between simple and complex carbohydrates.

#1. Simple carbs have a fundamental chemical structure consisting of one or two sugar groups whereas complex carbs are always comprised of three or more sugar groups.

#2. Simple carbs are more accessible and quicker to digest, whereas complex carbs take a much longer time to digest and keep your appetite full.

#3. Simple carbohydrates are always sweeter than complex carbs.

#4. Complex carbs can increase the glucose level in your blood gradually, whereas simple carbohydrates can instantly elevate it.

#5. Simple carbohydrates generally contain shorter chains of molecules than complex carbohydrates.

#6. Simple carbs can produce a spike in your blood glucose level, providing you with a higher amount of energy but for a short time. Some people prefer to call it a sugar rush. But according to a review study report, there is no hard evidence on this. However, the experts notice an increase in fatigue and lack of energy after 30-60 minutes.

But the complex carbs produce a long-lasting elevation in your energy.


The absorption process of complex carbohydrates is very slow because they have more fiber than simple carbs. Buy that does not imply that all complex carbs are good for health and all simple carbs are bad. Food items like vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, etc can be the source of both simple and complex carbs.

Some of the sources of simple carbs can also be higher in vitamins and minerals which have multiple health benefits. Therefore, it is more important to maintain a balanced diet with good nutritional values.

See Also

Dr Sebi Food List

Optavia Diet Food List

Galveston Diet

Complex Carbs Food List

Vertica Diet

High Fat Low Carb Food List

Low Carb Meal Plans

500 Calorie Diet

800 Calorie Diet