T Nation

Carbs: Simple vs. Complex

Whats the difference between simple and complex carbs? Does complex carbs have more fiber? Is fiber what you are looking for in carbs? Are there any good simple carbs to have, is that what what is in fruits? What times should I have carbs? Im trying to bulk by the way.

Complex carbs digest slower and causes a lower insulin spike then simple carbs. Complex carbs do in fact have more fiber which helps in suppressing hunger and helping you crap. Fiber won’t really do anything in terms of muscle growth, but it can suppress hunger which is good for cutting. Fruits are generally simple carbs.

Your trying to bulk so you should have more carbs then usual because its anabolic and gives you energy. Just don’t over-do it or else you’ll get fat. Best time for carbs is in the morning, before and after a workout. Try to have simple carbs after a workout and complex before. Hope this helps


Most definetely, I hear so much different things about carbs. Should I have carbs any other time besides morning, before, and after workout like bedtime? For complex carbs I am probably looking at wheat bread, whole grains and stuff? and for simple pasta, and fruit?

Find yourself a chart with the Glycemic index of different foods. You want to eat carbs with a low to medium glycemic index to help avoid any insulin spikes. Insulin spikes are only desirable directly after a workout. Low GI carbs also cause sustained energy rather than a quick rise and fall.

Fruits have a low GI but you still want to avoid them because the muscles don’t have the enzyme to convert fructose to glycogen. The liver can only store around 100 grams of glycogen, after that insulin is released and signals to store additional carbs as fat. You should avoid simple carbs whenever possible, especially refined sugar. The muscles can store 200-400g of glycogen and can convert complex carbs into it.

Eat low GI complex carbs throughout the day like old fashioned oats and have a serving of high GI complex carbs like white rice right after a workout with your whey protein.