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List of Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
List of Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs
Fast food is full of complex carbohydrates. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

A meal containing mainly complex carbohydrates is likely to give you more energy and leave you feeling fuller than a meal containing mainly simple carbohydrates, according to a study published in the "International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders" in June 2003. Of the three types of carbohydrates, two -- starch and fiber -- are considered complex carbs, while the other -- sugar -- is considered a simple carb because it is very quickly digested and absorbed. Starch and fiber take longer to pass through the digestive tract because of their more complex structure.

Classifying Your Carbs

List of Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs
Fresh fruits and vegetables are simple carbohydrates. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Milk, fruits and some vegetables contain naturally occurring simple carbs, but the foods are still healthy because they are rich in other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. What you need to limit are added sugars, such as those found in desserts, candy, soda and sugary cereals, according to the American Heart Association, since these provide calories without nutrients. Complex carbs are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans and other legumes.

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