What Are Complex Carbohydrates?

In the world of nutrition, you hear a lot about carbohydrates. The terms complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates, and then carbs for short, are used to describe foods. But, what do all those terms mean? We get many patients in here who ask what exactly a complex carb is when we’re going over the breakdown for their Hauser Diet. This is an important concept to grasp, so read on to make sure you are truly aware of the nutritional quality of your food choices.


Carbs are the macronutrient that is composed of sugar! This includes breads, pastas, vegetables, fruits, sugar itself and anything that contains sugar. No matter what carbohydrates you eat, you need to remember that they all break down into sugar in the body. Some may take longer to get there, but that’s the end result. The difference in their make up and metabolism is why it is important to divide carbs into categories.


Think white! White breads, pastas, rice, and sugar all fall under this category. And yes that means, sugary treats like soda and candy that although aren’t white, are still considered simple. The reason they are simple is because they either enter the body as sugar, or are quickly metabolized into sugar.

While these are the carbohydrates that need to be kept to a minimum, Lions and Otters need to be especially careful to stay clear of them all together. They will drain your energy and possibly increase your hunger. Bears can indulge every once in a while, and Monkeys and Giraffes shouldn’t experience much of a negative effect from taking in a small amount of sugar during the day.


Look for brown! Whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, legumes, and vegetables would all be considered complex, meaning they take longer to break down into sugar. If you have a choice, this is the group to choose from when it comes to carbs. They have much more nutritional value than simple carbs. These foods play a big role in the Giraffe and Monkey Diets. Lions and Otters can have them, but it is extremely limited.

Now fruits can technically fall under this heading too, but they are kind of in a group by themselves. Because even though they do contain some fiber which makes their breakdown process a little slower, their sugar content compared to protein and fat is high. So, this is the one complex carb that is limited in the same way that simple carbs are. In fact Lions should not have any fruit in their diet at all!

There is a lot of information on carbohydrates, and it can get confusing. The best thing to do if you are still confused is to sit down and talk about it with me. The foods that are considered carbs pop into our diet multiple times each day, and if you don’t know which ones to eat, or how much, it could have a huge impact on your health. By getting Hauser Diet Typing done, we can easily make the carbohydrate confusion disappear for you.