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As soon as you get to grips with the topic of the low carb diet, you will come across the term “complex carbohydrates.” But what exactly does this mean? Are you as valuable for your diet as they say you are?

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What are the complex carbohydrates?

The term carbohydrates cover all forms of sugar. Carbohydrates divide into three main groups. These three main groups are:

  • Simple sugars (monosaccharides): Simple sugar molecule
  • Twofold sugars (disaccharides): Double sugar molecule connected by a molecular chain.
  • Multiple sugars (polysaccharides): That is a long molecular chain consisting of at least three sugar molecules.

Simple sugar is absorbed and converted by the organism particularly quickly. The reason is simple: the body does not have to break up long molecular chains, the energy is directly available. You will find this pure sugar in fruit, honey, and sweets, for example. Dextrose – which is known as a fast energy supplier – is also such a Simple sugar.

The so-called Twofold sugars include sucrose as well as maltose and lactose. These sugars contain alcohol, yeast, and various fruits and vegetables.

Multiple sugars form the category “complex carbohydrates.” They can found in starch and fiber, and mainly in wholemeal products, some vegetables, and cereals.

What are the characteristics of complex carbohydrates?

They have a much more complicated molecular structure. The organism needs more time to break down the sugar molecules into glucose. In contrast to simpler sugar molecules, which “go directly into the blood,” multiple sugars must first be broken down in the small intestine. The release of glucose into the blood, therefore, takes longer but is much evener. For this reason, the blood sugar level rises only slowly – and continuously over a more extended period.

Energy turnover is also higher because the body spends more energy splitting. We stay full longer – in contrast to the consumption of white flour products.

What foods do these carbohydrates provide?

It is true that all foods that contain starch also contain complex carbohydrates. The fiber content is also usually very high: They secure the function of the gastrointestinal tract and control the digestive organs.


Here is an overview of foods that contain complex carbohydrates:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • wholemeal products, bread
  • beans
  • bran
  • soy products
  • oat, spelled, rye and barley flakes

In this context, the glycemic index (GI) is also frequently used. It indicates how much food causes the blood sugar level to shoot up. The lower the GI value, the higher the quality of the food.


Another Tip: Foods containing starch should not cook too soft. Otherwise, the body cannot use the contained coal hydrates lastingly.

How many complex carbohydrates per day are healthy?

In general, you should make sure that the carbohydrates you consume come from foods with a complicated molecular chain.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to make a general statement about how many complex carbohydrates you can eat per day. It depends on your weight, gender, and physical activity.

Also, you must ensure a balanced and healthy diet that meets your carbohydrate needs primarily with whole grain products. Your doctor or dietician can give you valuable help and tips here.

A Few More Tips at the End

If you are changing your diet to complex carbohydrates, consider the following:

  • Vegetables are a perfect side dish and snack.
  • Sweeten with sweeteners. Avoid sugar.
  • Do not consume too many dairy products.
  • Whole grain products should become an essential part of your diet.
  • Give preference to berries when eating fruit. Avoid delightful fruits such as honeydew melons, grapes, and pears.
  • Eat poor starchy vegetables such as lettuce, courgettes, cucumbers, cauliflower, or broccoli.
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of fats and protein. You will find them in fish, meat, dairy products, soy products, and high-quality oils.

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