One of best improvements Kate and I made to our diet was to eliminate simple carbs and only eat complex carbs. This is how I was able to reduce my body fat from 25% to 8% in 6 months with P90X!

A lot of people think they have to eliminate almost all carbs from their diet to lose fat. It couldn’t be further from the truth!  It’s all about whether they are Simple or Complex carbs!

Eat simple carbs = body stores it as fat
Eat complex carbs = your body burns fat


Simple carbs spike your blood sugar, which releases insulin, which removes all the sugar from your blood and stores it as fat!
Complex carbs DON”T spike your blood sugar and they actually improve digestion!

In our Top 25 Nutrition tips, we refer to simple carbs and complex carbs. We get a lot of questions asking for examples of both. Ask and ye shall receive!!! See below!

Complex carbohydrates are high-fiber foods, which aid your digestive process. They help stabilize the blood sugar, keep your energy at an even level, and help you feel satisfied longer after your meal. When blood sugar is stable, your body will burn fat as energy.

In contrast, sugar and other simple carbohydrates can alter your mood, lead to cravings and compulsive eating, cause wide swings in your blood-sugar levels, and cause weight gain in most people. In addition, a high consumption of sugar can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you finally decide to improve your diet and forgo the sweets.

Healthy foods containing complex carbohydrates: (EAT THESE)

SpinachWhole BarleyGrapefruit
Turnip GreensBuckwheatApples
LettuceBuckwheat breadPrunes
Water CressOat bran breadApricots, Dried
AsparagusOat bran cerealPlums
OkraWild riceOranges
CabbageBrown riceYams
CeleryMulti-grain breadCarrots
CucumbersPinto beansPotatoes
Dill PicklesYogurt, low fatSoybeans
RadishesSkim milkLentils
BroccoliNavy beansGarbanzo beans
Brussels SproutsCauliflowerKidney beans
EggplantSoy milkLentils
OnionsWhole meal spelt breadSplit peas



Foods containing simple carbohydrates: (DON’T EAT THESE)

Simple carbohydrates are more refined, are usually found in foods with fewer nutrients, and tend to be less satisfying and more fattening.

  • Table sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juice
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Bread made with white flour
  • Pasta made with white flour
  • Soda pop, such as Coke®, Pepsi®, Mountain Dew®, etc.
  • Candy (yeah it’s listed twice)
  • All baked goods made with white flour
  • Most packaged cereals

If you are trying to eliminate simple sugars and carbohydrates from your diet, but you don’t want to refer to a list all the time, here are some suggestions:

Read the labels. If the label lists sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or “wheat” flour, they contain simple carbohydrates. If these ingredients are at the top of the list, they may contain mostly simple carbohydrates, and little else. They should be avoided.

Look for foods that have not been highly processed or refined. Choose a piece of fruit instead of fruit juice, which is very high in naturally occurring simple sugars. Choose whole grain breads instead of white bread. Choose whole grain oatmeal instead of packaged cold cereals.

The closer you get to nature, the closer you get to health.

Simple carbohydrates, like sugar and corn syrup, are created in a factory – while complex carbohydrates in vegetables and whole grains are designed by nature, and help you maintain your health.


Credit to for this list!