Complex carbohydrates, also known as good carbohydrates, do not result in rapid increases in blood sugar levels, and are found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Simple carbohydrates, when they play a major role in the meal or snack, can cause rapid rises in blood sugar levels. They can be found in processed white grains and cooked potatoes, sugar-sweetened sodas and teas, baked goods and desserts, and fruit juices.
The full impact of blood sugar levels and heart health is not entirely understood, but we do know that the elevated blood sugar levels contribute to heart disease. Diabetics, whose bodies are unable to tightly regulate blood sugar, have sharply high levels of heart and arterial diseases. The adverse impact of elevated blood sugar levels starts well before diabetes is diagnosed. Similarly, researchers have found that those traditional societies in parts of the Mediterranean, China and Japan, which enjoy the lowest levels of heart disease, emphasize minimally processed complex carbohydrates.