Whole vs. Refined Carbs: What’s the Difference?

The amount of carbs we should consume is a highly debated topic. One of the primary purposes of carbohydrates in our diet is to provide fuel for our bodies. Therefore, people who are physically active and have more muscle mass can typically tolerate a lot more carbs than people who are sedentary. Though limiting your carb intake can lead to weight loss, it doesn’t mean that eating carbs in and of itself is what caused weight gain in the first place. Carbs are sometimes referred to as “simple” versus “complex”, or “whole” versus “refined.”  Whole carbs are unprocessed and contain the fiber found naturally in the food, while refined carbs have been processed and had the natural fiber removed or modified. As a general rule, carbohydrates in their natural, fiber-rich form are healthy, while those stripped of their fiber are not. If it’s a whole, single-ingredient food, then it’s probably a healthy food for most people, no matter what the carbohydrate content is.

Try to incorporate these in your daily diet:

  • Vegetables, whole fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains/sprouted grains, and tubers.

Try to avoid these:

  • Sugary drinks, white bread, pastries, cookies, cakes, ice cream, candies, and fried foods.




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