Carbohydrates-Good Or Bad? Answers To Your Most Common Carb Questions

Being a health nut wannabe mom is not easy. I always feel like I am just on the verge of actually becoming one of those real health nuts but then seem to be bogged down with more questions than answers (or more brownies than berries). So, thank goodness for people like Christopher Warden, a New York City fitness professional and co-author of the book Unlock Your Strength who was kind enough to agree to do a guest post here and clear up some of the most complicated and important questions that I have found on health and weight loss. I kept asking him (he is also getting me in shape for the dreaded swimsuit season as my online personal trainer) about carbohydrates and was so confused (it was like math to me-which I was absolutely hideous at my whole life) and his answers were so helpful that I asked him to share his knowledge with you.

The Most Common Questions about Carbohydrates

Christopher Warden, CSCS

Invariably, every fitness professional gets asked about the topic of nutrition. And why shouldn't we be? After all, sound nutritional habits are the foundation of enhanced performance, aesthetics and health -- as much, if not more than strength training itself. One of the most confounding topics for the fitness enthusiast -- carbohydrates. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the topic. If more arise after reading this, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post or contact me HERE .

What is a carbohydrate?


•is one of six nutrients utilized by the body. (The other five are protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.)
•exists in simple or complex form. Simple carbohydrate is sugar. Complex carbohydrates (simple carbohydrates linked together) are known as starch and fiber.
•is primarily used as a fuel source. The building block for (nearly) all carbohydrates - the simple sugar glucose - is a universal source of fuel for all cells, particularly the brain.

Where are carbohydrates found?

Anything containing sugar, starch or fiber is a carbohydrate. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, baked goods, candy, rice and potatoes are considered most often, but it's safe to say that every food source from the plant kingdom (leaves, vegetables, fruits, legumes, fungi) - as well as nuts and dairy products - contains carbohydrates.

What is sugar?

Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It either "stands alone" - as sugars like sucrose (cane/table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), maltose (malt beverages), fructose (fruit/corn sugar) and glucose (blood sugar) - or it's linked together in chains to create the complex carbohydrates -- starch and fiber.

What's the difference between sugar, starch and fiber?

Sugar, as mentioned above, is the simplest form of carbohydrate and requires little/no processing before being absorbed and used as a fuel source the body. Sugar (especially glucose) is also the building block for starch and fiber.

Starch is a complex carbohydrate that is able to be broken down, absorbed and used by the body.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that is unable to be broken down and absorbed by the body.

Are carbohydrates essential for survival?

Contrary to common belief, carbohydrate is not an essential nutrient for survival. Is it tolerable and usable? Absolutely. But if carbohydrates were unavailable to us, we could get/create all the energy we needed from fat and protein.

Why are carbohydrates such a significant topic of conversation?

Countless studies show that one of the key factors to health and fitness is the control of insulin - the hormone whose primary role is to regulate blood sugar levels. Chronic, excessive consumption of starches and sugars - something very easily accomplished with the prevalence of grains and processed foods - contributes to chronic, excessive secretion of insulin. This, in turn, has been linked to many of the diseases of civilization: diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, colitis and cancer, to name a few. Carbohydrates are and will remain an important topic of discussion as professionals educate the masses about the ideal carbohydrate sources for controlling blood sugar, insulin release and overall health.

Stay tuned for Part II of this Q & A when Christopher unveils more answers to some of the most common questions about carbohydrates. . .

P.S. If you would like to see a free sample chapter of Christopher's book Unlock Your Strength please click here and you will be directed to an area where you can download the free chapter. I personally bought this book and use it daily to help me with fitness, weight loss and health.I like it because these are real tips set out in an easy to read format (please note that I don't make any money by telling you this, I just like to pass on information about products that I really like and help me).


  1. again SUCH A GOOD POST.
    After riding the sugar highway (with its DIPS AND CURVES) I finally kindasorta have the carb thing worked out *for me*

    it's a constant struggle

  2. What a wonder explaination of Carbohydrates. It's confusing to so many.

  3. thanks for you comment, looks like you have a great blog here!

  4. Great information! Finally, some of the "mystery" solved for me!

  5. Great post, thanks for stopping by my blog I may not have seen this otherwise. Also please do not ever read my Gluttony post - I'm healthy I swear!! :)

  6. p.s. did I tell you look fabulous in your pics and your baby girl beautiful!!

  7. I know lots of folks who were carb addicts. I was one of those :)! The trick is trying to minimize the simple sugars and instead eating complex carbs. Problem is, I'm carb sensitive and feel the need to take a nap every time I consume them, so I usually only eat carbs (both simple and complex) moderately. If you really want to eat a simple sugar (i.e. junk foods with high sugar), you'd be best to eat it after a large protein meal and some complex carbs, that way you'll blunt the insulin-spiking effects and save yourself from instant lipogenesis (fat-storing mode).

  8. Ohmigosh. PLEASE, please say they're not bad for you. I haven't read it yet (I'm almost afraid to) but I'll check back in afterwards...

  9. Okay, I can deal with this. Although I may need the cliff notes from his answers (man is he bright, or what). Please tell me his next post will endorse the idea of them in moderation (I mean who could give up fresh baked bread?!).

  10. Excellent post! Keep em coming!

  11. I love to come and read here, I learn something every time I do! Thank you for stopping by and leaving me such a nice comment. :)

  12. Aaah finally someone explained carbs in a way that I get (sometimes I'm just slow like that). ;-)

  13. another great post from you ;) great info for many who don't know much about carbohydrates.

  14. Great write up. Simply put some carbohydrates are good and others bad. This post will help people know which is which.

    It is interesting that many people who are milk lactose intolerant have similar problems digesting carbohydrates like non-whole wheat pasta, white bread etc.

  15. What a great post. Thank you for sharing this info. A nice reminder for me to cut back on some of the sugars in my diet.

  16. hi very informative blog..i hop and dropped here

  17. It is good but overtake it will harm our body.

  18. That's a great article! I'm always struggling with those pesky carbs,they have such a strong hold on me. This information was very helpful.

  19. Thanks for such a detailed post. I knew that your body could use protein for energy. However, I was led to believe carbohydrates are the better of the two to use for energy. Am I right with this?

  20. Ohhhh Heidi, I got the answers for my unanswered questions so far regarding CARBOHYDRATES, thanks for Q & A about it and for the useful links,

    Excellent work.

  21. Wow, Heidi, Excellent...!!!
    I really happy with these information about Carbohydrates.
    However, We have to reduce 'Carbohydrates' to loose I right?


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