Watch: What You Really Need To Know About Carbs

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Carbs have gotten quite a bad rap lately. But they're not exactly the villains we make them out to be. As a new video from TED-Ed explains, different types of carbohydrates can affect us differently, and knowing how they do so could make a huge impact on our health. Carbohydrates encompass sugars, as well as the substances your body breaks down to make sugar. So, a slice of bread and a can of soda both contain carbs. These also come in two "flavors": simple and complex. Simple sugars include glucose and fructose. But if you connect three or more of those simple sugars on the molecular level, you've got a complex sugar. Your body digests those complex carbs into simple ones so that your cells can use them as energy. But you won't react to all carbs in the same way. For instance, the video explains, starchy carbs are strung together differently than fiber-y carbs. Starches are easier for us to digest, so eating them will raise the level of sugar in our blood much faster than eating fiber-heavy foods. Over time, this can put a strain on your pancreas, which manufactures the insulin necessary for your body to process those carbs. But they don't all behave this way, and many carbs (like those found in fruits and veggies) come with other healthy components. So, banishing all carbs from your plate probably isn't as helpful as we'd like to think. Like anything else in your diet, moderation is key. To learn more about how these foods affect your body, check out the full video below — and don't even get us started on gluten.

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