For Information Only: Complex carbohydrates are chains of three or more single sugar molecules linked together. Long chains of sugar molecules are called starches and they serve as the storage form of energy in plants. Branched complex carbohydrates called cellulose form the structural components that give plants their shape. Starches are fairly easy to digest. However, your body doesn't digest cellulose, which is an important component of dietary fibre.
Complex carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Some examples of foods high in starchy complex carbohydrates include bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes, dry beans, carrots and corn. Green vegetables like green beans, broccoli and spinach contain less starch and more fibre. All grains include starchy carbohydrates. However, whole grains - such as whole wheat pasta - are better for you because they also have more fibre.
Complex carbohydrates should be a major part of your diet; about half of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates - mostly from grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables.
Simple carbohydrates are made up of one or two sugar molecules linked together. Examples of simple carbohydrates include glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and galactose (the sugar found in milk). Simple sugars are used as ingredients in candy, ice cream, cookies and other sweets. Also, they occur naturally in fruits and lesser amounts are found in vegetables.
Gropper, S.S., et.al. "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism." Fourth Edition. Belmont, CA. Wadsworth Pub Co. 2005.