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Whole vs Refined Carbohydrates




It is estimated that we get half of our calories though carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates have 3 main categories: sugar, starches, and fiber. One of the primary purposes of carbohydrates in our diet to provide fuel for our body.

Sugar: Glucose, Fructose, galactose, and sucrose.

Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules that eventually get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.


Fiber: Humans cannot digest fiber but the bacteria in our digestive system can.

Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which then can be used as energy. Which also can turn into stored energy (fat), for later usage. The human body cannot freak down fiber, it passes through the body undigested, keeping your digestive system clean and healthy. It helps with easing the bowel movements, and flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body.

Type of Carbs:

There are different type of carb-containing foods, and they can have various health effects on our body. There are 2 types of carbs, they can be referred a “simple” vs. "complete" or “whole” vs, “refined”. The most popular terms would be whole vs refined.

Whole Carbs are UNPROCESSED and contain the fiber naturally found in food.

On the other hand, Refined Carbs are PROCESSED and the natural fiber is removed or has been changed.

Examples of whole carbs:

  • Vegetables

  • Quina

  • Barley

  • Legumes

  • Potatoes

  • Whole grains

Examples of refined carbs:

  • Sugar-sweetend beverages

  • White bread

  • Pastries

  • White flour foods


Constant over-consumption of refined carbohydrates is associated with health issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Consumption of refined carbohydrate is able to provide that momentary energy boost, however, majority of the time, they lack essential nutrients the body needs.


Whole carbs on the other hand is loaded with nutrients and fiber and doesn’t cause dips, spikes and crashes in sugar level like refined carbs does. High fiber carbohydrates, including vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, show that eating them is linked to improve metabolism and lower risk of diseases.

Here are some recipes utilizing some of the examples of ‘whole carbs'

Easy Quinoa salad recipe:

  • 3/4 cups of cooked quinoa

  • 1 C of Shredded carrots

  • 1 C of diced cucumbers

  • 1 C of diced sugar snap peas

  • 1/4 cup of diced onions

  • 1/4 C of chopped parley or green onions

  • 1/4 cups of salted sunflower seeds

  • Dressing: Olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.


Cooking Instructions:

  1. After cooking the quinoa as suggested on the package, fluff it out.

  2. Toss all the ingredients in to a large bowl and toss.

  3. As for the dressing, drizzle with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, season with salt or pepper to taste.

For colder days, Quinoa soup with potatoes are great!

Vegetables and Quinoa Soup:

  • 1 large diced onion

  • 1 C of uncooked quinoa

  • 4 C of chopped kale

  • 18 ounces of potatoes (cubed)

  • 28 ounces of canned diced tomatoes

  • 5 cups of vegetable broth (or water)

  • Salt and pepper



Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan and sauté the onion a few minutes.

  2. Add in all the ingredients and allow it cook for 20 minutes in low heat with the lid closed.

  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

To sum it up, Whole carbs will provide sufficient nutrition and fiber for the body and will keep the body fueled. Habitual consumption of whole carbs is beneficial to the body. Refined carbs, on the other hand, lacks nutrients, is made up of mostly processed flour and sugars. Constant consumption of refined carbs can lead to very serious health issues.

Source and Reference:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/good-carbs-bad-carbs#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

  2. https://veganheaven.org/recipe/quinoa-soup-with-kale-and-potatoes/

  3. https://www.inspiredtaste.net/38096/quinoa-salad-recipe/


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