Carbohydrates: Part 1

In the following discussion, we will address carbohydrates, associated weight gain from eating too much of a good thing, and typical treatment of the problems arising from overeating of carbohydrates. We are all familiar with the term carbohydrates, which also goes by other names such as starches, simple sugars, sugars, complex carbohydrates, diet – carbohydrates, and also simple carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates can best be defined as a large group of sugars, starches, cellulose’, and gums that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in similar proportions.

The primary sources of carbohydrates in our diet are:

Complex carbohydrates (a good source of minerals, vitamins, and fiber) are starches found in:

  • breads
  • cereals
  • starchy vegetables
  • legumes
  • rice
  • pastas

Simple carbohydrates also contain vitamins and minerals. They naturally occur in:

  • fruits
  • milk and milk products
  • vegetables

Simple carbohydrates are also found in processed and refined sugars such as:

  • candy
  • table sugar
  • syrups (not including natural syrups such as maple)
  • regular carbonated beverages

Refined sugars provide calories, but lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In excess, these types of carbohydrates should be considered the enemy as they contribute substantially to weight gain. We’ll talk more about this later.

The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. The body breaks down starches and sugars into a substance called glucose, which is used for energy by the body.

Your individual dietary consumption recommendation is generally between 40 to 60% of total daily calories. We recommend that these come from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars rather than processed or refined sugars such as candy and soda pop.