The complex carbohydrates o slow absorption carbohydrates are those carbohydrates or carbohydrates made up of the most extensive chains of sugars (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides), usually consumed in the form of fibers or starches (starch is the molecular form of vegetables to store energy, equivalent to fat in animals). For instance: cornmeal, carrot, peas, broccoli. Likewise, both complex and simple carbohydrates are used by the human body after their breakdown into glucose.
Unlike simple or rapidly absorbed carbohydrates (monosaccharides), complex carbohydrates break down into glucose more gradually and slowly, so they are absorbed by the body more slowly, due to which the energy input it is more progressive and prolonged in time. That is why they are recommended nutrients for people with claims to lose weight.
Complex carbohydrates provide a feeling of fullness much more extensive since they cannot be converted into glucose quickly and stored in the form of fat reserves, as can be the case with simple carbohydrates. For the same reason, their consumption is discouraged for people with diabetic disorders or metabolic imbalances, and they are a recommended alternative to refined and processed sugars.
Examples of foods with complex carbohydrates
- Wholemeal flours. Especially those made from whole grains. For example: corn flour, oatmeal, cassava flour, grated wheat, bran or bran, whole wheat flour or cracked wheat, muesli, sorghum.
- Grain. Particularly those that have not been processed and stripped of their essential nutrients (like starches). For example: quinoa, grain corn, buckwheat, barley, wild or brown rice, oats, wheat germ.
- Vegetables. Especially those rich in calcium. For example: spinach, chard, leeks, purslane, artichokes and most cabbages, zucchini, paprika, asparagus, and green beans.
- Vegetables and vegetables. Especially those rich in mucilage and cellulose. For example: cucumber, carrot, eggplant, tomatoes, onion and most sprouts.
- Vegetables. From vegetable pods. For example: peas, lentils, beans, beans (black, white, red), chickpeas, peas, lima beans, alfalfa, couscous, soybeans or soybeans.
- Tubers and roots. They are normally rich in starches. For example: potatoes (baked, especially), sweet potatoes, chayote, squash, cassava (yuca), yams, occupy.
- Nuts and seeds. Particularly those that have not been processed. For example: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins, pistachios, sunflower seeds, plantago, flax or mustard.
- Fruits. Most fruits contain simple carbohydrates (monosaccharides), but bananas (not bananas), pears, grapefruits, avocados, radishes, figs, plums, and apple rind contain abundant complex carbohydrates.
- Algae and lichens. Foods rich in mucilage. For example, agar-agar and other red algae (rhodium), or lichen of Iceland, contain abundant complex carbohydrates.
- Green leaves. Usually used raw in salads: lettuce, radicheta, arugula, watercress; or as flavorings and infusions, such as parsley, thyme and coriander.
- Dairy products. Certain cheeses, yogurt, and skim milk contain just as much complex carbohydrates as soy milk (even though it’s not actually dairy). In contrast, milk and most of its derivatives contain monosaccharide sugars.
- Seafood. Certain shellfish can be a source of complex carbohydrates, such as mussels or oysters, as well as most edible bivalves. However, most of the complex carbohydrates in these foods are lost in commercial or industrial handling.
- Vegetable stems. Those that are rich in cellulose. For example: celery, chives, garlic joint, hearts of palm, cauliflower, watercress, and broccoli (the stems). Especially if they are eaten green or steamed.
- Vegetable oils. Although they are not properly a food nor do they provide complex carbohydrates, their use (especially olive oil) allows to preserve the polysaccharides in plant foods and not break down the complex sugars contained in them.
- Breads and pasta. Only those made from whole wheat flours and without added processed sugars.