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Oats – A Good Source of Complex Carbs

There are 3 macro nutrients that make up your breakfast bowl, dinner plate etc. fat, protein and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a major macronutrient as they’re your body’s preferred and primary sources of energy. Because of this, you should never avoid eating carbohydrates, instead you should think about the types of carbohydrates your are eating, as this can make a huge difference to your health. Simply put, complex carbohydrates are a much preferred source for your body over simple carbohydrates, But what makes them special, and how are they beneficial for your health?

Carbohydrates are made up of three components: fibre, starch, and sugar.

Fibre and starch are complex carbs, while sugar is a simple carb. Depending on how much and the ratio of each of these is found in a food determines its nutrient quality.

As mentioned there are two types of carbs: simple and complex. “Simple” carbs due to their composition are more easily digested by the body and can be found in fruits and dairy. Simple carbs are also found in processed, refined foods like sugar, pasta, and white bread. In comparison “complex” carbs take longer for the body to break down and are found in oats, vegetables, whole-grain pasta and bread, brown rice, and legumes.

Imagine a wave, the simpler the carbohydrate the higher the wave becomes, and the time it takes to hit its peak is reduced. That wave is your blood sugar level. With simple sugars, you may feel good, sometimes energetic. This is because your blood sugar wave is really high, however, what goes up must come down. To compensate for the wave getting high so quickly the body over compensates, insulin is released bringing the wave crashing down. This is where feeling lethargic and struggling to stay awake overtake. But this action isn’t helpful for sustaining energy levels and even for loosing weight, as it often makes you hungry again.

The comparison with a complex carbohydrate is that the wave builds slowly, once it hits its peak it just naturally falls again as the body doesn’t over react, meaning you have more energy, for longer, and don’t crash. This brings many positives like feeling fuller for longer and more sustained energy levels helping you throughout the day rather than a mad 1 minute.

Often you will see the term Glycaemic Index, aka GI, used when referring to whether a carbohydrate is simple or complex. This is a method of measuring the Glycaemic load of a food to give a more helpful chart to gauge how much a food type affects your blood sugar and subsequent insulin response. With this it is the lower the GI that relates to the higher the complexity of carbohydrate. So for oats, these would be classed as a low GI food type.

To summarise, what better way to start your day off than with a bowl of Oat Pantry oats that:

  1. Are a complex carbohydrate
  2. Have a Low GI
  3. Sustain energy levels
  4. Keep you feeling fuller for longer
  5. Provide your body with a great source of fibre (check this post out for all fibre benefits)