Exploring the Intricacies of Carbohydrates: A Nutritional Odyssey with 18 Chestnuts

Exploring the Intricacies of Carbohydrates: A Nutritional Odyssey with 18 Chestnuts

Article at a Glance

  • Understanding when to consume different types of carbs to optimize its impact on energy levels.

 Hello from the heart of nutrition at 18 Chestnuts! As the proud owner, I am delighted to take you on a journey through the intricate world of carbohydrates, revealing their diverse distinctions and shedding light on their impact to our bodies. Join me on this culinary and nutritional adventure, as we explore the magic of ingredients like butternut squash and sweet potatoes, unravel the nuanced differences within simple sugars, and understand the importance of maintaining a balanced carbohydrate intake. 

The Complexity of the Human Body:

Our bodies are marvels of complexity, orchestrating billions of chemical reactions every second to keep us alive. One such intricate topic is insulin resistance — a primary factor in longevity and vibrant living. The pancreas releases insulin when we consume foods that break down into sugar. Insulin's role is to usher the sugar (glucose) from our bloodstream into cells for energy—a typically beneficial process. However, prolonged high glucose levels can lead to inflammation and even tissue damage, culminating in chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and dementia.

As the body responds to waves of high blood sugar, it requires more insulin to direct glucose into cells for fuel and, when excess is present, into fat cells for storage. Eventually, the body may fatigue and the insulin signal is ignored—a condition known as insulin resistance. It's imperative to understand the world of carbohydrates and how to use them for our benefit.

Understanding the Carbohydrate Spectrum:

I am thrilled to guide you through the intricate world of carbohydrates and offer a glimpse into how we incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into our delicious soups. Join me on this culinary and nutritional adventure as we explore the distinctions between complex and simple carbs.

Carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source, and they come in two main forms: complex and simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates are the unsung heroes of a balanced diet. These include whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and certain fruits. The difference between simple and complex carbohydrates lies in their molecular structure, with the complex carbs taking more time for the body to break down.


Here at 18 Chestnuts, our soups are brimming with complex carbs sourced from wholesome ingredients like butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and other nutrient-rich vegetables. These complex carbs provide a steady release of energy, ensuring you stay fueled throughout the day. When you consume complex carbs, your body engages in a gradual breakdown process. The digestive system meticulously disassembles these complex structures into glucose, a process that unfolds slowly in the small intestine.

This gradual absorption is instrumental in maintaining stable blood sugar levels. The slow release of glucose ensures a sustained energy supply, preventing the spikes and crashes associated with simple carbs. Complex carbs are the guidepost on the journey to maintain consistent energy levels. They are particularly beneficial before activities that demand endurance, such as workouts, long runs or a busy day of productivity.

18 Chestnuts soup recipes were created to be a clear and easy resource on your journey to a healthier you. Our soups are carefully crafted with a variety of complex carbs, ensuring a wholesome and sustained energy source. Every vegetable used in our clean-label soups brings rich flavor and vibrant color, contributing not only to the tantalizing taste but also a noteworthy nutritional profile.

Simple Carbs: The Quick Boosters

In contrast, simple carbs are quick energizers that provide a rapid burst of power. These carbs include sugars with a simpler chemical structure and are found in fruits, candy, and sugary beverages. While our focus at 18 Chestnuts revolves around harnessing the power of complex carbs, we recognize the occasional need for simple carbs.

Fruits, with their natural sugars, find their way into our culinary creations to add a touch of sweetness and nutritional diversity. Simple carbs undergo rapid breakdown in the digestive tract, leading to a swift spike in blood sugar levels. Simple carbs can play a strategic role after intense workouts when the body requires quick replenishment of glycogen stores. However, moderation remains essential to prevent the rollercoaster effect on blood sugar levels. In addition, it's important to understand the differences among different types of simple carbohydrates to stay on track in your health journey.

For instance, maple sugar, derived from the sap of sugar maple trees, primarily consists of sucrose. While it provides a sweet flavor and some trace minerals, it's essential to note that it is still a concentrated source of sugar. Fruits, nature's sweet treats, contain a mix of sugars, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The fiber in fruits slows down the absorption of sugars, mitigating the impact on blood sugar levels. Fruits are a wholesome choice for those seeking both sweetness and nutritional value.

Fiber is a crucial component in the carbohydrate landscape, particularly within the realm of complex carbs. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugars, including glucose. The result is a more gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping maintain stable blood sugar levels. Beyond its role in carbohydrate digestion, fiber offers numerous health benefits including improved digestive health, weight management, and a reduced risk of certain diseases. Recent studies concluded that high fiber diet can even reduce insulin resistance and the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 20-30%.

The 80% Rule: Complex Carbs as the Mainstay:

As a general rule, it's often recommended that around 80% of our daily carbohydrate intake should come from complex carbs. This guideline aligns with the principle of fostering stable blood sugar levels and sustained energy throughout the day. While complex carbs take center stage, the remaining 20% can include simple carbs, allowing for flexibility and enjoyment in our dietary choices. However, moderation remains essential to prevent adverse effects on blood sugar levels.

Tailoring Carb Intake to Activities:

Understanding when to consume different types of carbs can optimize their impact on energy levels. Here's a guide to tailoring your carb intake based on various activities:

Before Workouts:

  • Complex carbs are an excellent choice before workouts, providing sustained energy for physical activity.
  • Consuming a balanced meal with a mix of complex carbs, proteins, and fats can support endurance and performance.

After Intense Workouts:

  • Simple carbs, along with a source of protein, can aid in the quick replenishment of glycogen stores after intense workouts.

Throughout the Day:

  • Emphasize complex carbs in your daily meals to maintain steady energy levels, especially in the first half of the day.
  • Incorporate a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and legumes for a diverse range of nutrients.


In the culinary haven of 18 Chestnuts, we celebrate the art of crafting soups that not only tantalize taste buds but also nourish the body. The careful selection of ingredients, rich in complex carbs like butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, and even dates, apples, and pears, reflects our commitment to holistic well-being.

As you embark on your nutritional journey, savor the balance between complex and simple carbs, appreciate the nuances within simple sugars, and relish the culinary delights that contribute to a healthier, more vibrant you. Explore our site for more insights into health, nutrition, and the delectable world of our soups. Here's to a journey of flavor, wellness, and the joy of nourishing your body from the inside out.

With Joy,


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