Complex, Simple Carbs–AND Energy

In fatigue, fitness, holistic health, lifestyle, nutrition, wellness on April 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm


Start your day with something like brown rice cereal and fruit; it's fast, delicious, healthy--and will take you all the way through to lunch so you won't experience that mid-morning slump.

Despite some of the popular low-carbohydrate diets, it’s important to remember that there are two types of carbohydrates: Complex, or good ones–or simple, or bad ones.

Yes, all carbohydrates do contain sugar, but COMPLEX CARBS also have vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber. Since they get absorbed into the bloodstream at a steady rate, they provide long-lasting energy, breaking down smoothly and evenly, allowing your body to absorb all the “good stuff.”  Complex carbs also increase serotonin, the substance that makes you feel less stressed. Grains, fruit and beans are examples of complex carbs; so are veggies–and the more colorful the assortment, the better, because each color contains a different set of phytonutrients, thought to promote health.

Complex carbs get broken down into glucose molecules and then stored as fuel (glycogen) in the muscles and in the liver; when the body has an ample supply of glycogen fuel storage, it can run efficiently–and you will have plenty of energy!

In fact, if you have a complex carb at breakfast–especially a grain such as steel cut oatmeal or brown rice porridge with berries–it will break down slowly and take you all the way to lunch–so you’ll avoid that mid-morning slump.

SIMPLE CARBS–white flour, candy, cookies, pastry–contain NO vitamins, minerals and fiber. This means your body must go into its own store of nutrients, requiring much more effort to digest–and, hence, creating a deficit in your body. It also wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, resulting in fatigue, irritability and stress.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a NYC-based, certified nutrition and wellness coach.  She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied over 100 dietary theories, lifestyle management techniques and cutting-edge coaching methods–with instructors such as Dr. Joel Fuhrman; Deepak Chopra; Dr. David Katz; Dr. Mark Hyman and others.  She is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

She received her BA from Marist College, attended New York University, has two fitness certifications and is author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life.  Her website is:

Irene also writes a twice-monthly free newsletter that’s full of tips and suggestions for healthy eating and lifestyle.  You can subscribe to the newsletter called “Power Wellness” here.


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