Sugar and starch

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Carbohydrates (car-buh-HIGH-druts) are the sugars and starches in the diet. 'Complex' carbohydrates are starches in their unrefined form. They include potatoes, pasta, rice, beans, whole wheat bread, and apples. The sugar in complex carbohydrates is absorbed slowly into your bloodstream, so your blood sugar and energy levels remain constant. 'Simple' carbohydrates are such things as refined sugar, honey, molasses, and alcohol. They have no fiber or bulk, and are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Diets high in complex carbohydrates are good for the heart and benefit people with such diseases as diabetes and hypoglycemia (high-poe-gligh-SEE-mee-uh), in which the body has difficulty maintaining proper levels of sugar in the blood. Eating complex carbohydrates are also helpful in avoiding weight gain because they're more filling than simple sugars and lower in calories than fat and your body uses more calories to digest them and they don't convert easily to dietary fat.

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