Simple carbs vs complex carbs: Their effect on the cardiovascular system

Complex carbs should be a big part of everyone's diet since they are our main source of energy. These healthy carbs are digested slowly thereby preventing big fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels.

On the other hand, simple carbohydrates provide instant source of energy since they are digested very quickly. That being said, refined, simple carbs are poor source of nutrients and they are loaded with sodium, sugar and additives.

Fruit, for example, is healthy source of simple carbs. The sugar in it is natural, they are nutrient dense food a great source of fiber.


First lets set one thing clear. Honey and fruit are the only types of simple carbs rich foods which are acceptable and healthy, when consumed in moderation.

The best time to eat them, is right after you wake up and after exercise or between main meals. During sleep and exercise your blood sugar goes down since the body uses it for energy.

The best way to replenish glucose levels in the blood and restore your energy levels, quickly, is to consume fast digesting simple carbohydrates.


The main food sources of complex carbohydrates are legumes and whole grains as well as some fruits and vegetables. However, fruit and especially vegetables mainly consist of fibrous carbs or fiber.

The type of carbs which are preferd as energy source are complex starchy carbohydrates. The best and most easily obtainable food sources of starchy carbs are:

  • Brown rice
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorns
  • Starchy carbohydrates contain simple sugars just as fruits but these sugar molecules are bonded together thereby making a complex bonds.


    While fruit and starchy foods do contain these type of carbs, the main food source are green vegetables. Although only small part of fibrous carbs can be broken down and utilized for energy, it offers some significant health benefits.

    Vegetables are the healthiest kind of food which consist of mainly fiber. Because of fiber, it is very low in calories which makes it a perfect for weight loss and colon cleanse. Good example of fibrous carbs are:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Cabbage
  • Red, green and yellow peppers
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Vegetables are also the most nutritionally rich foods, bursting with vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and antioxidants. However, its fiber content is second to none.


    Consuption of starchy carbohydrates and especially fibrous complex carbohydrates is linked with significantly reduced from heart disease. Complex carbs help stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels and improve ability of our cells to use glucose for energy.

    On the other hand, eating too much wrong type of carbs such as refined, simple carbohydrates increases the risk of heart disease. With time, they can have negative effect on pancreas, heart muscle and lead to weight gain.

    However, healthy simple carbs foods such as fruit have similar beneficial effect as the complex carbohydrates on the cardiovascular system, when consumed in moderation.

    Also, fiber from complex carbs and fruits helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, thereby lowering the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack.

    That being said, fiber has positive effect on immune system function which reduces the risk of viral infections as well as autoimmune diseases, aimed at the heart muscle and blood vessels.


    Fiber is fermented in the intestines which can improve intestinal microflora. Basically, fibers are prebiotics which fuel the growth of good bacteria in the intestines which modulate pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

    Cytokines are hormone like chemicals of the immune system which regulate the immune system. By increasing the number of good bacterias and modulating cytokine production, you are making sure that your immune system is functioning optimally.

    On the other hand, simple refined carbs support the growth of bad bacterias such as candida, interfere with the normal functioning of cytokines and feed the cancer cells, causing metastasis.


    The best way to reduce the risk of heart disease, is to limit simple refined carbohydrates and find the right balance between healthy simple carbohydrates, complex starchy carbs and fibrous complex carbs.

    The main focus should be starchy carbohydrates, mixed with some vegetables to increase fibrous carbs intake. When it comes to fruit, 2-4 servings per day are enough.

    The point is, limit the intake of sugars and man-made products filled with refined simple carbs. Focus on more natural approach, such as fibrous and complex carbs. By doing so, not only that your cardiovascular system function will improve but the risk of diabetes, cancer, arthritis as well as your weight, will all go down.

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