Everything you need to know about eating carbs – plus a healthy pancake recipe!


Adriana Urbina is a contributor to cooking In The Know. Follow her on Instagram and visit her website for more.

Carbohydrates are often portrayed negatively in the media, but the truth is not all carbohydrates are created equal. Keeping the right carbohydrates in our diet gives us usable energy, facilitates healthy digestion and helps support a healthy weight. On the other hand, eating a lot of refined carbohydrates increases the risk of chronic inflammation, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

So, how do we know which carbohydrates to choose?

The first thing to know is that the main function of carbohydrates is to provide us with energy. Complex carbohydrates contain fiber that supports gut health and helps us manage weight and reduce cholesterol. These two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and help us avoid spikes in spikes, allowing us to maintain more consistent blood glucose levels.

Soluble fiber slows digestion by increasing the transit time in the digestive tract, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool to support digestive regularity. When adding extra fiber to your diet, be sure to do it slowly to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort, and remember to increase your water intake.

Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars during digestion and absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. Insulin then allows glucose to enter the cells as an energy source. Depending on your body’s needs, any unused glucose is stored in the liver or converted into fat for later use.

Types of carbohydrates

There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. These terms refer to the chemical composition of the molecules that make up food.

simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are small compounds that break down quickly, providing a quick boost of energy when consumed.

Simple carbohydrate sources include:

  • sugar

  • dairy

  • Fruits and honey

  • malt sugar

As a source of simple carbohydrates, fruit naturally contains sugar, but it’s also a good source of fiber (unlike most processed foods with added sweeteners). For this reason, the fruit does not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. Plus, the fruit offers more than just energy – it’s a source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

complex carbohydrates

Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates are larger compounds that require more time to break down, which slows digestion and absorption and prevents extreme changes in blood glucose levels.

Sources of complex carbohydrates include:

  • Whole grain brown rice

  • barley

  • black wheat

  • bulgur wheat

  • oats

  • wild rice

  • spelling

  • Beans/legumes

  • vegetables

Since these foods are good sources of fiber, they also help with weight management and support cardiovascular health.

Below you will find an easy to prepare recipe for buckwheat pancakes. It is very light and has a soft texture and a nutty flavor that will help you start your day full of energy.

Buckwheat pancakes

Credit: Adriana Urbina

Credit: Adriana Urbina

Produces 10 pancakes


  • 1 cup buckwheat flour

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • One lemon flavor

  • 1 1/4 cups milk (both dairy and non-dairy)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white vinegar

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter and more for the pan

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or table salt

  • 1 large egg


  1. Combine the milk and lemon peel and set aside for five minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

  2. Beat eggs and vanilla with the milk mixture.

  3. Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the milk and melted butter mixture into the well and use a fork to stir until the lumps of flour are gone.

  4. Heat a large skillet (or tray) over medium heat. The pan is ready if you sprinkle a little water on the surface of the pan, the water dances around the pan and eventually evaporates.

  5. Gently grease the pan with melted butter. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to put the mixture into the pan. Gently spread the mixture into a 4-inch circle.

  6. When the edges look dry and bubbles begin to appear and the top surface of the pie pops, flip it over. This takes about two minutes.

  7. Once flipped, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until light brown and cooked through.

  8. Serve immediately with warm syrup, ghee, or any of your favorite pancake toppings.

If you enjoyed this story, find out why you should be eating more fiber here!

The post Everything you need to know about eating carbs – plus a healthy pancake recipe! He first appeared on In The Know.

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