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Should you consume refined carbs or not? Are they really harmful? If so, how to avoid them?

First, let’s see what they mean.

Refined carbs, also known as processed carbs, are carbohydrates that have been stripped of their natural fiber and nutrients.

They are often referred to as “empty calories” because they don’t provide any nutritional benefit.

They are also low in essential vitamins and minerals, making them a poor source of nourishment.

Although they are often viewed as an easy source of quick energy, they can be detrimental to your health.

Refined carbs cause spikes in your blood sugar, which can lead to a number of health problems including diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

We will see in this blog post what we can expect from refined carbohydrates, as well as how to avoid them for better and more healthy alternatives.

For a more detailed post on carbohydrates in general, please click here.

How Harmful Are Refined Carbs?

A man having heart heart, one of the many reasons why refined cards must be avoided as much as possi.ble

Refined carbs increase your risks for disease development considerably. You really need to understand that first and foremost.

Refined carbs could cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels, leading to an increased risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. They can also lead to sugar cravings and cause weight gain.

They can contribute to your digestive problems such as bloating, gas and constipation. This is because refined carbohydrates lack the fiber found in whole grains, which help regulate your digestion.

They can also contribute to inflammation in your body, which has been linked to a number of serious health conditions.

We have put in a list of possible health conditions that may arise on account of consuming refined carbohydrates in excess.

  • Arterial plaque buildup
  • Increase in triglyceride levels
  • High levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (LDL cholesterol)
  • Shoots your blood sugar levels, thereby type 2 diabetes
  • Can cause obesity
  • Could cause tooth decay due to starch in white flour staying longer in mouth
  • Can cause Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Could cause diarrhea
  • May increase the risk of gallbladder diseases
  • May further aggravate pancreatitis 
  • Digestive problems such as bloating, gas and constipation
  • Can cause insulin resistance

Refined Carbs vs. Complex Carbs: Which is Better?

An image of a comparison between refined carbs and complex carbs.

So which is better for you?

Refined carbs, also known as simple carbs, are found in foods such as white bread, white rice, candy etc. These foods are usually processed and contain very little nutritional value, as they are also stripped of their natural fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Complex carbs, on the other hand, are found in foods such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can provide a variety of health benefits.

Generally speaking, complex carbs are way healthier than refined carbs. They provide sustained energy throughout the day, can help your control blood sugar levels and can even reduce your risk of certain illnesses, such high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.

What Foods Contain Refined Carbohydrates?

An image of food items rich in refined carbs, also known as simple carbs.

Refined carbs are heavily processed foods that mostly contain added sugars, sodium and other equally unhealthy ingredients.

The following list might help you to avoid them for more healthy ones.

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • White pasta
  • White flour
  • Pastries
  • Cookies
  • Doughnuts
  • Soda and other sugary drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Candy
  • Packaged snacks
  • Processed meats, such as hot dogs and deli meats
  • Pre-made sauces and condiments

Can Foods Rich In Complex Carbs Help?

An image of food items rich in complex carbs

They certainly do.

Complex carbohydrates are unprocessed or minimally processed carbohydrates that still contain their natural fiber, vitamins and minerals.

These carbohydrates are broken down more slowly by your body, providing a more sustained source of energy and generally having a less significant impact on blood sugar levels.

Here, we give a list of some of the foods rich in complex carbs to choose from.

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Legumes, such as lentils, black beans and chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits, such as apples and bananas
  • Vegetables, such as squash, broccoli and brussels sprouts
  • Dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, low-fat milk and cottage cheese
  • Whole grain cereals

How to Avoid Eating Refined Carbs?

By now we understand that refined carbs are bad news for you. So how can you effectively avoid eating refined carbs?

The easiest way to avoid them is simple. Don’t eat them. Period.

Here we give you some simple, healthy alternatives, something you can easily follow.

  • Try Brown rice instead of white rice
  • Eat Oatmeal instead of regular oatmeal
  • Try Whole-grain bread instead of white bread
  • Eat Whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta
  • Eat vegetables instead of processed foods
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Easier said than done?!

These changes may be initially difficult for you, and we know that.

But once you’re firm in your resolve not to switch back to refined carbohydrates, you will begin to enjoy your meals as well as feel great about your health.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways

Carbs are essential for your health. You should not avoid them, and you simply can’t.

It is the form in which you take them matters most.

When it comes to a better choice, the answer is clear: complex carbs are always a better choice.

Complex carbs provide essential nutrients that your body needs, and they also help you feel full for longer and can prevent you from overeating.

Refined carbs, on the other hand, can provide a quick burst of energy, but they can also lead to a host of health issues in the long run, or sometimes, when you least expect it.

So be smart, make your choices clear and stay healthy for long. Much, much longer!


If you have a question related to this blog post, write to us here and we will update this post with a response.

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Sources: Healthline (1, 2), Medical News Today, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Medline Plus, NCBI, PubMed, Nature, HHP.

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