What are refined carbohydrates?

What are refined carbohydrates? Carbohydrates provide energy to the body, but not all carbohydrates are made the same. Refined carbohydrates do not provide long-term energy, and excessive consumption can lead to health problems.
Carbohydrates are important for a balanced diet. Untreated carbohydrates include fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, this process removes nutrients and produces refined carbohydrates, also known as empty carbohydrates or empty calories.

What are refined carbohydrates?

Refined carbohydrates contain very few vitamins and minerals. Purified carbohydrates are processed so quickly by the body that they cannot provide sustained energy and can cause blood sugar spikes.
In this article, we’ll look at the difference between refined carbs and complex carbs. There is also a list of alternative foods that people can choose from. 

What are these foods?

Carbohydrates consist of:

Sugar: Fruits, dairy products, and highly processed foods such as soda and flavored candies contain sugar. 

Starch: Grains, legumes, and vegetables contain starch. 

Dietary Fiber: Dietary fiber in fruits, vegetables, and other foods cannot be broken down by the digestive system. 

Refined carbohydrates are quickly digested by the body to provide energy. However, blood sugar levels can rise sharply and insulin can be released from the pancreas.
Large companies can also superprocess food. The term “superprocesses” refers to processed foods such as soft drinks and cookies.
Super processed foods contain substances that are not used in everyday cooking. You can add 5 times more sugar than other foods.

How Does Refined Carbohydrates Affect Your Health? 

Refined carbohydrates are excreted from the body much faster than unrefined carbohydrates.
Therefore, refined carbohydrates provide a short burst of energy, while unrefined carbohydrates release energy more slowly throughout the day. After a short burst of energy, they may need to eat more to get more energy.

This allows them to burn large amounts of calories, which contributes to weight gain. Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of health problems such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • asthma
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Arthropathy
    Refined carbohydrates also do not have the same nutritional value as unrefined carbohydrates. They lack fibers that are important for digestion and glycemic stability.

Challenging and complex carbohydrates

Ideally, a person should consume 200 to 300 grams of carbohydrates per day. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex.
Both are composed of small particles, so-called molecules, which are connected to form a chain.
Complex carbohydrates are made up of long chains of molecules, while short chains are simple carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels. You can use the glycemic index to monitor your carbohydrate intake.
The complex carbohydrates with the lowest glycemic index are oats, sweet potatoes, peas, fruits, and vegetables.


These types of carbohydrates contain nutrients that take longer to digest. Therefore, they have a healthy effect on a person’s blood sugar levels.
Refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index and include white bread and rice flakes. It is these types of carbohydrates that can increase the risk of certain health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Examples of refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are found primarily in two foods: refined grains and refined sugar.
Milling wheat removes the bran and germ. This improves the durability of the grain and makes it finer. However, B vitamins, iron, and dietary fiber are removed in the process.
Include an example. 

  • Bread and tortillas with white flour
  • muffin
  • Waffles and pastries
  • Breakfast cereal
  • White rice
  • pizza
  • Refined sugar is found in a variety of sweet and tasty foods.
  • An example is
  • Flavored yogurt
  • cake
  • Soft drinks, fruit juices, smoothies
  • Noodles with sauce
  • Muesli

Examples of complex carbohydrates.

Raw foods are often low in refined carbohydrates.
Include an example

  • fruits
  • vegetable
  • Whole-grain bread
  • brown rice
  • Beans and beans
complex carbohydrates.


According to the USDA, current dietary guidelines for the US population recommend that half of each diet consist of fruits and vegetables. In addition, at least half of the grain consumed must be whole grain products. Eliminates refined carbohydrates.

There are several easy ways to avoid refined carbs.

One can make healthy choices, for example. For example, eat fruit when you want something sweet, and choose brown rice or whole-grain bread instead of rice or white bread.
It is also advisable not to add sugar to the food. Adding sugar to food does not increase its nutritional value.
When shopping, you can check the labels to make healthy choices. Manufacturers use many different names for refined sugars. Therefore, check the labels for the following ingredients:

For example, check the following ingredient statement: 

  • molasses
  • sweetener
  • Fructose
  • sucrose
  • Malt sugar
  • glucose
  • Synthetic

Refined carbohydrates do not provide sustained energy and do not contain important nutrients.

Eating too many refined carbohydrates can cause weight gain and health problems.
Gradually reducing the number of refined carbohydrates in the diet and choosing healthy alternatives can have a positive impact on overall well-being.
Careful checking of food labels can help you avoid refined carbohydrates. A healthy diet should include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and raw foods.