Indian Simple Carbohydrate Food List to Avoid
What are Simple Carbohydrates?
With a lot of hype about low-carb and zero-carb diets, let us know what carbohydrates actually are!
Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients in the body. A major chunk of calories come from carbohydrates in our daily diet. Especially the Indian diet is very rich in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be a little confusing, as they come in two varieties – simple and complex – which vary substantially in the way they are digested and their nutrient content. While simple carbohydrates, usually get a bad reputation, they can provide important benefits if incorporated correctly into a healthy diet. Before getting into what is good and what is not, let us know about what exactly are “simple” carbohydrates.
As far as chemical structure is concerned, simple carbs are small molecules consisting of one monosaccharide or two of them linked together. Anything bigger than that comes in the category of complex carbohydrates.
Monosaccharide is just a fancy scientific word for a single sugar. Glucose is a monosaccharide and it is a very important sugar because it is the only type of sugar your brain uses as fuel everyday. Other monosaccharides include fructose, found in fruits and galactose found in milk. None of these are bad for you. Similarly, lactose, maltose and sucrose are disaccharides which are required by your body in appropriate amounts.
How do simple carbs behave in the body?
They are fairly easy for your body to digest. Most of the simple carbohydrate digestion occurs in the small intestine. Enzymes break down the sugar into simple molecules that can enter your blood stream. Any sugar your body does not use as fuel is converted to fat and stored in the adipose tissue within your body.
Indian Simple Carb Food List to Avoid
1. Sugar : This is the table sugar and brown sugar. We add this to tea and coffee. Now sugar is deemed as empty calories. It doesn’t have much to offer in terms of nutrition and adds on only calories which get deposited as fat. Hence it is best avoided. Opt for a sugar-free and dairy-free Black Tea. You can have Green Tea also.
Black Tea, Basic Black Tea
2. Aerated drinks: These are also filled with sugar. Avoid them completely and include no sugar healthy juice like Tulsi Water. Sipping on Tulsi Water two or three times a day helps to keep acidity at bay. Have a glass of it early in the morning before eating anything else, and you are all set to face the day with josh!
3. Candy: Most candies only sugar-laden. They please your sweet tooth. But in reality they attract bacteria if you do not gargle and clean your mouth and teeth well after eating a candy. Try a whole fruit like apple instead.
Or Opt for a small piece of Til and Dry Fruit Chikki. This has the goodness of sesame seeds and some nuts along with jiggery. But remember only a small piece occasionally.
Til and Dry Fruit Chikki
4. Sugar syrups: Sugar syrups used in most Indian mithais like gulab jamun, rasgulla, sheera, halwa etc. Try dates in the form of Date and Nut Cooconut Cocoa Balls instead.
Date and Nut Coconut Cocoa Balls
5. Maida and its products: This includes bread, pizza base, some varieties of pasta, burger buns, frankie rotis, wraps etc.
Again maida is refined and thus devoid of one most important nutrient – fiber. Fiber is key nutrient for healthy gut, managing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Check All Fibre Rich Foods. Try Whole Wheat Salad Garlic Tomato Chutney Wrap to get your quota of fiber.
Whole Wheat Salad Garlic Tomato Chutney Wrap
6. Cookies and biscuits: These are usually made with maida and sugar as their main ingredient. Avoid them. Try date Oats and Mixed Berries Granola Bars. This too has some amounts of honey, but this is a healthier option than cookies made with maida and pure sugar. Remember to have not more than 1 cookie occasionally .
Date Oats and Mixed Berries Granola Bars
7. Readymade fruit juices: You would often find fruit juices promoting the use of fruits to make these packaged fruits. But read the labels wisely.
It might also mention added sugar, sugar concentrate and so on… This is the culprit. Avoid them and go in for natural fruit juices which are not strained. Try Palak Kale and Apple Juice.
Palak, Kale and Apple Juice
8. Canned products: These have a brine solution, which is usually salt or sugar solution. This to prevent the foods in it from getting spoiled. But sugar or salt both in excess amounts are unhealthy. Opt for natural foods and veggies instead of canned fruits and veggies.
9. Some breakfast cereals: Some breakfast cereals have added sugar in them and that’s what makes them so flavourful. So read the label before buying. Here’s how ti make your own Muesli with Nuts at home.
10. Condensed Milk: This is also made with sugar. Used in Indian mithais like rabdi, fruit salad, ice-creams and so on. We suggest you satisfy your sweet tooth with Date and Walnut Balls instead.
Date and Walnut Balls
Remember the more complex the carb, especially full of fibre, the better and healthier it is. Also Read All About Complex Carbs.
Are all simple carbohydrates bad for you?
No, they are not bad molecules. Your body requires them in the correct small amounts. In fact they are the only source of energy for your brain! But, anything in excess can become a poison, so the problem is that foods high in simple sugars have a lot of calories, and too much sugar is not good for you.
Fruits and vegetables contain fructose but they are also nutrient dense and contain fiber which helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of sugar. Fruit juices (if strained) do not contain fiber, and the simple carbohydrates present in it can be absorbed quickly thereby leading to quick rise in the blood sugar and a consequent weight gain. Because of which, it is always better to eat the whole fruit rather than drinking a strained fruit juice. If your juice is not strained, it is good healthy drink.
Somebody who is lactose-intolerant cannot digest lactose (milk sugar). People with this condition must avoid milk and milk products or use supplemental enzymes called lactase to help them digest milk sugar.
How to identify simple carbs on labels?
A lot of processed foods contain simple carbs. They are foods which are high in calories and not very nutritious. If you plan to reduce on your simple carbohydrate intake, familiarize yourself with some of the most common forms of simple carbohydrates to ensure smart and informed choices when planning your next meal, : Sucrose, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, malt sugar, honey, syrup. White breads, Maida and Soft drinks are all types of simple carbohydrates – all these are different forms of simple carbohydrates and should be restricted.
We need carbohydrates for our body’s health, but the right quantity and quality of carbohydrates is very important. A diet that is low or deficient in this critical nutrient is truly not balanced, and is in need of correction to best support overall health.
Following a well-balanced diet and doing regular physical activity with a good sound sleep is more likely to lead to a good health and an appropriate body weight than eliminating a particular nutrient from the diet.