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  • Writer's pictureFIKISHA L. WARDEN, MD


Hello and welcome to Hopkins Family Med & Urgent Care, PLLC Blog. In this section of our nutrition series, we will be talking about Carbohydrates. We will be breaking down the different aspects and what you need to know. Below will be our YouTube video to go along with this blog.


  • Carbs are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms.

  • Carbs are an extremely important macronutrient because it provides the majority of calories in our daily diet.

  • Carbs give you energy faster than any other macronutrient (protein and fat).

  • It's the main source of energy for the brain.

What are Simple versus complex carbs?

  • Simple carbohydrates are carbohydrates made up of one or two sugar molecules, named monosaccharides and disaccharides, respectively.

  • complex carbohydrates (Polysaccharides), contain three or more sugars and can be divided into starch and fiber.

  • Digestible and provides an excellent source of energy

  • Some sources of starch include: potatoes, wheat, maize, rice, barley, cassava, tapioca, rye, oats, and peas.

Why do we need to know about resistant starch?

  • helps control blood sugar,

  • lowers blood cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations,

  • improves insulin sensitivity

  • increases satiety

  • reduces fat storage.

What are some foods that contain resistant starch?



Slightly green bananas

Split peas


Brown rice

Fibers! The Soluble vs. Insoluble

  • Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water

    • Soluble fiber have an affinity for water and they either dissolve or swell to form a gel.

    • Examples of soluble fiber include:

      • oats

      • barley

      • beans

      • peas

      • apples

      • citrus fruits

      • carrots

      • seaweed.

  • Insoluble fiber are not soluble in water

    • Improves digestion

    • Improves bowel health,

    • increases satiety

    • helps pull out toxins from the body.

  • Insoluble fiber are mainly lignin, cellulose, and hemicelluloses.

    • Examples of insoluble fiber food

      • asparagus

      • celery,

      • wheat bran,

      • whole grains

      • nuts.

How are Refined carbohydrates Differ from Whole Carbohydrates?

  • Did you know whole grains are derived from the seeds of grasses? They are derived from grass seeds

  • Whole grain: like what we find in certain cereal grain consist of the “intact, ground, cracked, or flaked fruit where the main component is the starchy endosperm, germ, and bran that you would find in almost the same way as it exists in nature- the intact grain.

  • Whole grains contained healthy complex carbs, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

    • They contain no cholesterol and are low in fat

    • They meet all nutritional needs except vitamins A, C, B12, and D

    • They have been shown to decrease cholesterol

    • They have been shown to decrease blood sugar levels

    • They have been shown to lower risk of chronic diseases such as colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

  • Refined grains: are whole grains that have been processed and as an end result they are stripped of their vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • When you eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates, it leads to weight gain and illnesses

  • Diet based on whole grains improves health and optimizes weight control!

  • Remember this, it is the source of carbohydrate that matters most!

What we need to know about The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load?

  • Glycemic index - the measurement from 0-100 that ranks carbohydrate based on how quickly they’re converted into blood sugar after we eat a carbohydrate meal.

  • The amount of carbohydrate that is used to determine the glycemic index is 50 grams and it is compared to the glycemic response to 50 grams of pure glucose.

  • Foods above 70 are considered to have a high glycemic index and some examples include:

    • white bread

    • watermelon

    • baked potato

    • Popcorn

  • So remember that the lower the number of the glycemic index, the less impact your food has on your blood sugar, and therefore you have less blood sugar spikes!

  • Some believe that the glycemic index is controversial. Why?

    • This is because depending on the stage at which a food is ripened or how it's prepared, a wide variation in glycemic index values are possible.

    • Also the measurements of the glycemic index are performed on single items, and overall results change when that item is eaten with other foods.

  • Glycemic load- is when we take an extra step in the glycemic index to consider the actual intake of carbohydrates.

  • There are other factors we need to remember that also play a role and those include:

    • Body weight

    • Quality of food consumed

    • Frequency of exercise.

  • Finally it should be noted that people who consume a whole food, plant-based diet generally have better blood sugar control so remember that the source of your carbohydrate matters the most!

We would like to thank you for visiting our blog and please like and subscribe to our Youtube channel as we will be bringing more educational content; have a blessed one! -----Fikisha L. Warden, MD

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