List Of 29 Essential Complex Carbohydrates


The effectiveness of training directly depends on a balanced diet, which you can level by controlling the daily intake of complex carbohydrates. Body’s fitness and strength indicators are reduced significantly. This is especially true for heavy weight training, since athletes experience a constant lack of energy.

What are the benefits of Complex Carbohydrates

Organic compounds related in their chemical structure to polysaccharides are called complex or «slow» carbohydrates. In their molecule there are a variety of monosaccharides, lots of glucose and fructose.

Many vital processes in the human body occur with the participation of monosaccharides. They contribute to the processing of fats and proteins and affect the liver in a positive way. Foods containing a large amount of complex carbs are best consumed in the first part of the day, for carb metabolism has not yet slowed down then.

The body metabolizes saccharides in the form of glucose. The rate at which saccharides are converted to glucose divides carbs into simple, i.e. «fast», and complex, i.e. «slow». The indicator of this rate is the glycemic index of the product. In complex ones, it is rather low, and, therefore, blood saturation with glucose occurs slowly.

Carbs from foods with a low glycemic index are absorbed by the body already at the stage of chewing. The process starts due to the effect of the enzyme contained in saliva.

Complex carbs are most precious in winter. Thanks to saccharides, the production of the serotonin is stimulated. This hormone positively affects the general mood, and also helps to keep the body warm.

A low glycemic index means that complex carbs are absorbed slowly. The low digestion rate eliminates insulin bursts. These bursts provoke the processing of excess carbs into fat tissue, and, consequently, may lead to obesity.

After training, the body needs a quick replenishment of the energy expended. Complex carbs are absorbed for a long time. This is the main reason that eating slow polysaccharides after training is not recommended. You need to replenish energy quickly in that case.

Foods rich in complex carbs are best consumed in the morning. After waking up, an active production of glycogen begins.

Types of Complex Carbohydrates

The structure of a complex carbohydrate includes several molecular chains that enclose many monosaccharides. A similar composition is characteristic of starch, glucomannan, dextrin, glycogen, cellulose and chitin. In each of these complex carb-containing substances there are large amounts of monosaccharides, which ensures that digestion will go on for a long time, and the energy is going to be released slowly.

Carbs should account for at least 50% of the total daily calories. Complex carbs are recommended to be consumed right before strength training. One intake includes at least 40 grams. Since it’s getting absorbed slowly, it gradually and evenly provides the blood glucose level necessary for the athlete.

As medical research shows, complex carbs increase endurance indicators, as well as acceleration on fat burning. They maintain energy at a constant level. Eating a portion of carbs, a person doesn’t feel hungry longer, which is the key to success in reducing the daily caloric intake.

There are many sources of such carbs, with starch being the most common. Its slow digestion, accompanied by conversion to glucose, does not allow monosaccharides in the blood to fall below the proper level. A large amount of starch is found in legumes and crops.

The breakdown of glycogen into glucose takes place in the liver. No additional enzymes are involved in this process. The largest amount of glycogen is contained in pork and beef liver, a little less – in yeast cells, seafood, crayfish.

Fiber, even though not being fully absorbed, plays an important part. It cleanses the body on its way through the digestive tract, removes cholesterol, toxins and metal salts and also prevents putrefactive processes. By stimulating an increased production of bile, it increases the feeling of satiety.

As a result of the breakdown of fructose, a side polysaccharide called inulin is formed. It is used as a sugar substitute for diabetics and can be found in certain products, such as artichoke and chicory.

All complex carbs are rich in fiber, which is partially responsible for them being slowly digested. By gradually splitting, they turn into glucose, which evenly enters the bloodstream, gives a long-lasting feeling of satiety and maintains the energy balance in the body.

Losing weight on complex carbs (porridge diet)


The key to weight loss is the use of foods that do not cause sudden bursts in glucose in the blood and the same time saturate for a long time. Complex carbs satisfy both conditions and are present in many diets, including varieties of porridge diets. They are prepared from various cereals, except semolina. They may contain natural honey, feta cheese, fruits and berries, nuts.

Porridges are good for weight loss due to containing complex carbs and fiber, which additionally cleans up the digestive tract. There are two types of diet plans based on porridges. They differ not only in duration, but also in some other features:

Six day porridge

This variation is designed for a week of duration. A seven-day diet involves eating porridges from a certain cereal from Monday to Friday in the following order: wheat, oat, millet, barley, pearl barley, rice.

When every day corresponds to a certain type of porridge listed above, then Sunday is a free day. On the seventh day, you can prepare any of the listed cereals or all at once. Porridges should be prepared without salt and only using water.

In order for the diet to have the desired effect, a few days before the start of the diet it is necessary to avoid consuming alcohol, fast food, fried and spicy foods. The amount of porridge eaten is not limited.

Ten Day Diet


This variation implies a complete rejection of potatoes, butter, white and red meat, fish, dairy products, sugar and bread. You can eat absolutely any cereals, except semolina. Porridge must be prepared without salt, butter, sugar or milk. Before eating, drink a glass of water.

It is allowed to add a small amount of nuts, honey or fruits into the porridge. Choose cereals at your own discretion. One and a half weeks is a rather long period for which the body may begin to experience a deficiency of vitamins. This can be avoided through using vitamin complexes.

Any diet, including porridge diet, based on the use of foods rich in slow carbs, can be followed no more than once every six months. A more frequent periodicity can undermine the healthy condition of the body. You need to withdraw the diet as delicately as possible, gradually adding other products into your meals.

The Main Sources of Complex Carbs

The highest concentration of slowly digestible organic compounds with the chemical structure of polysaccharides is present in bread and pasta, cereals and various porridges. These products contain lots of starch. During hydrolysis, it splits into monosaccharides, including glucose. Starch is digested slowly due to its molecular structure.

Bread should be consumed with caution. Not all of its types are harmless to the physique. Compounds with a high glycemic index are present in white bread (toasts, burger buns etc.) Therefore, the product is quickly absorbed, which provokes the accumulation of fat tissue. Only macaroni and bread for which dough was prepared from whole grains, in other words, having undergone minimal processing, are considered safe.

Corn and potato also contain a large amount of starch, but they have a high glycemic index as well. Their consumption is better be limited, especially in case of attempts to lose weight. Among the natural sources of starch, preference should be given to cereals and porridges. Barley, oatmeal and buckwheat are especially valuable.

The listed cereals have the lowest GI. One serving of buckwheat, oat or pearl barley porridge allows a person to feel full much longer, as well as feel full of energy and strength, which is a direct consequence of the action of slow carbs.

Nuts and legumes contain much less starch, but are rich in fiber. The latter is required to maintain the normal function of the digestive system and to clean the body from harmful substances.

Foods Rich In Complex Carbohydrates

It is a rather large group, mostly presenting starchy products. A characteristic feature of such products is an unsweet and neutral taste, which is strikingly different from what is typical for foods with simple carbs.

To replenish energy, you should eat the following complex carbohydrate-rich foods:

  1. Durum wheat pasta
  2. Coarse flour bread
  3. Sugar free cookies
  4. Porridge (buckwheat, rice, corn, oat, etc.)
  5. Brown rice
  6. White and red kidney beans
  7. Soy
  8. Lentils
  9. Chickpeas
  10. Hulled Barley
  11. Pearl barley
  12. Dried apricots
  13. Apples
  14. Grapefruits
  15. Peaches
  16. Oranges
  17. Cherries
  18. Pears
  19. Avocado
  20. Spinach
  21. Zucchini
  22. String Beans
  23. Onion
  24. Bell pepper
  25. Brussels cabbage, white cabbage, cauliflower
  26. Broccoli
  27. Mushrooms
  28. Greens
  29. Tomatoes

Complex carbohydrates are almost the only way to replenish the energy expended without the formation of adipose tissue. They can be consumed throughout the day, but the optimal time falls on the first half of the day or 60 minutes directly before the strength training. After training, it is recommended to eat already simple carbs instead.