Good vs Bad Carbohydrates: Know the Difference

Nutrition: it’s a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, but it is also hella confusing. When you dive into the massive amounts of information on the subject, you have to wade your way through tons of confusing and contradicting information just to be told that you shouldn’t eat anything that tastes good. 

Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case. No, you can’t get a simple answer by googling “good carbs vs. bad carbs,” but we can do our best to break it down for you in a fun and straightforward way. 

Here at Outstanding Foods, we care about creating delicious snack foods that are also good for you. We get it; usually, these two things don’t go together, but with the help of our super-smart snack scientists, we have cracked the code on tasty snack foods that don’t fill your body with junk. These plant-based snacks are seriously delicious, no cap! 

Carbohydrates are an essential part of any well-balanced diet. Our bodies need them to create energy so that we can keep living our best lives. However, not all carbs are created equal. 

Simply put, some carbs are good, and some carbs are bad. Today we will break down the differences so that you can keep things both tasty and nutritious. After all, you are what you eat, and the last thing you want is to be a two-legged greasy junk food monster. 

What Is A Carbohydrate?

In the words of Mean Girls iconic character Regina George, “Is butter a carb?” Cady replies with a yes accompanied by a look that can only mean, “What are you, stupid?” However, she’s not exactly right. 

While butter can contain trace amounts of carbs, it is actually not a carb but rather 100% fat. We know it’s shocking to find out that everything you learned from Mean Girls isn’t all fact, but we’re here to de-bunk everything you know about carbs. 

Ok, but if butter isn’t a carb, then what is? Carbohydrates, or carbs, are one of the basic food groups that are the body’s main source of energy. Carbs are essentially the sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products. 

Our body takes these carbohydrates and turns them into glucose. Glucose is what your grandpa is talking about when he says he has low blood sugar. The glucose in our blood is used by our cells, tissues, and organs as a source of energy. The body also stores leftover glucose in your liver and muscles so that it can pull them out when you skip a meal and your body needs fuel. Some people's bodies may react better to a low-carb diet for those wanting to consume less calories. 

The Different Types Of Carbohydrates

There are three main types of carbohydrates found in foods, including sugars, starches, and fiber. When each type of carb goes into your body, your system has a unique response to deal with them. 

  • Sugars are the first type of carb. Sugar is what is known as a simple carbohydrate. This essentially means that it is already broken down into the simplest form, so your body doesn’t need to do much to use its energy.

    These sugars include the sugar in your favorite candy, desserts, processed foods like cookies, cakes, potato chips, fruit juice, or soda. Honey, syrups, and molasses also contain sugar. They also include the natural sugars in fruits, vegetables, and milk. 
  • Starches are the second type of carb. These are what is known as a complex carbohydrate. This basically means that they are a bunch of simple sugars that are strung together like a necklace.

    When you eat these, your body has to take the chain apart and break down the sugars into individual pieces to use them for energy. These starches include your favorite cereal, bread, pasta, and certain vegetables like potatoes, white flour, whole wheat, peas, oats, and corn. 
  • Fiber is the third type of carb. This is the carb that your grandma loves to remind you to eat because it helps give you healthy poops by regulating your digestive system. Fiber is another complex carbohydrate.

    Your body can’t break down most fibers which makes them great for weight loss since they keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. You will find fiber in most plant foods like fruits, chickpeas, quinoa, legumes, lentils, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. 

Simple Carbs vs. Complex Carbs

Now that you know about the three main types of carbohydrates let’s dive deeper into how simple carbs and complex carbs are different. The main difference isn’t how they taste but rather what your body does with the food after you’ve eaten it. However, most foods contain different types of carbs, so it can be a bit tricky to understand which foods are better for you. 

Sugary carbs like glucose and fructose (like high fructose corn syrup) are the most basic type of carbs, called monosaccharides. Two monosaccharides together are called disaccharides, and these include lactose and sucrose. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are both considered simple carbs. 

Simple carbs are made up of easy-to-digest sugars. This includes natural sugars like those found in fruits and dairy, but it also includes anything with a lot of processed sugars like soda, candy, and desserts. These sugars are quickly absorbed by the body and can even cause blood sugar level spikes.  

However, just because the body easily absorbs these sugars doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all good for you. For example, when you eat a lot of candy, your energy levels will spike, but just as quickly as these types of carbs will bring you up, they will drop you with a harsh sugar crash only minutes later. 

Your body deals with complex carbs differently. Complex carbs, also known as polysaccharides, are basically a bunch of sugars strung together that your body has to break down to use. These complex carbs are typically whole grains, beans, and other vegetables. 

These carbs take longer for your body to break down, which helps give you a more steady energy flow. Instead of getting a massive rush of energy and then a crash, your body will provide you with small amounts of energy as it breaks down the complex carbs. 

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

But which carbs are good and which are bad? Well, it’s not that black and white, and your food labels certainly won't tell you the difference. Not all simple carbs are bad. For example, fruits and dairy products contain simple carbs, but they also have many other nutrients like antioxidants and fiber. Your body can use these simple carbs to give you energy and boost your blood sugar. 

However, other simple carbs like candy and sweets are bad carbs. They don’t have many nutrients for your body to use and are bad for your overall health—that’s a lose, lose.

Complex carbs are generally good carbs as long as you are making healthy choices. You should try and eat whole grains that aren’t heavily processed. Look for foods like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread instead of white bread. These complex carbs are good carbs that will keep you going throughout the day instead of leading you towards an energy crash.  

How To Make Good Carb Choices

The best way to improve your nutrition in addition to vitamins and minerals, is to change the types of carbs you eat by picking good carbs vs. bad carbs. Here are a few easy switches you can make to transform your eating habits. 

Instead of this, eat that:

  1. Swap out white bread for a healthier good carb like whole-wheat bread. 
  2. Ditch white rice and instead eat brown rice. It is just as tasty and has a lot more protein. 
  3. Eliminate processed sugars like sweet cereals and instead try oatmeal with nuts and seeds. 
  4. Get rid of the chips and processed snack foods and try out a healthier alternative. 

A Good Snack Choice

Not sure how to replace your favorite chips with a healthier alternative? We get it carrots and celery are tasty but don’t quite fill the need for a crunchy chip or cheesy puff. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate healthy snack that combines good carbs without sacrificing that irresistible crunch and tasty flavoring of your favorite packaged treats. Please welcome to the stage... Outstanding Puffs!

These delicious snacks are as addictive as scrolling through TikTok but don’t worry; you can down a whole bag of these tasty puffs without an ounce of guilt. They are the very best, good carb snack food that you can bless your mouth with. 

These delicious puffs come in four different flavors, Pizza Partay, White Chedda, Hella Hot, and Chill Ranch. Each flavor is better than the next, so we suggest you buy a variety pack for the ultimate chip unboxing. 

They are completely made from plant-based ingredients, so they are great for carnivores and veggie heads alike. Seriously, you got to try this tasty snack! They’re so good that you’ll be wishing you ordered more. 

Wrap Up

Look, carbs can be confusing, but hopefully, this breakdown has helped you to better understand the way things work. Get healthy grams of carbohydrates with good carbs like sweet potatoes, whole oats, and black beans—and our Addictively Delicious snacks, of course! You don’t have to be 100% healthy all of the time, but with fantastic snack options like Outstanding Puffs, why not add some good carbs into the mix. Get ready to kick your old processed chips to the curb, there is a new chip in town, and you're gonna love them! 



Ultimate Guide to Healthy Snacking for Adults—Outstanding Foods

Good vs. Bad Carbohydrates: How Do You Tell the Difference?—Everyday Health

Carbohydrates—Medline Plus

What are carbohydrates?—Live Science

Is Butter a Carb?—Illinois Valley Community Hospital