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What You Need To Know About Carbohydrates

what are carbohydrates

What You Need To Know About Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found in many different foods and are important to obtain in your daily diet. However, what are carbohydrates and how much should you get. Continue reading to learn more about what carbohydrates are.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates, otherwise known as carbs, are molecules that have carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Carbs are one of the three macronutrients (a food required in large amounts in the diet). The other two macronutrients are protein and fat.

The main purpose of carbs is to provide energy. Carbs can be broken down into glucose which is then used as energy. They can also be broken down and become fat. This fat is stored energy that can be used at a later time.

Carbs can be classified into two separate categories. These are simple and complex. Each of these is commonly found in many different foods.

Simple Carbs

When people think of simple carbs, their minds are usually drawn towards unhealthy foods with sugar. That is because simple carbs are simply just sugars. Some of these carbs occur naturally in some foods however most simple carbs are added to foods. Some of these to avoid are:

  • Soda & Energy Drinks: These contain a lot of refined sugars and are bad for your overall health in many ways.
  • Candy: If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, try to choose fruit instead.
  • Baked Goods: This includes cookies, cakes, and even pastries. If you decide to have some, consider making your own at home using substitutes for sugar like applesauce.

Simple carbs can be good for you if you are eating the right kinds.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs differ from simple carbs due to the fact that they have more nutrients. They also have more fiber and take a bit more time to digest. This makes them great for people who are looking to eat less because they keep you feeling full longer. The two types of complex carbs are fiber and starch.

Fiber is vital to obtain in the diet because it helps with regular bowel movements and it also helps control cholesterol. You can get fiber from many sources like:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Whole grains

Starch is the other complex carb. When eaten, it is broken down into glucose. This is the body’s main source of energy. It is found in the same foods as fiber, along with:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Cereal
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Rice

How Many Carbs Do You Need?

Dietary guidelines recommend that around 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from carbs. However, it is up to you and your health care professional to determine how much you are going to eat because everyone is different and has different needs.

If you are looking to lose weight you might want to cut down on the carbs or substitute for healthier carbs instead.


To recap, carbohydrates are a macronutrient that supplies the body with fuel to use as energy. There are many different foods that contain carbs. Some contain simple carbs, while others contain complex carbs. Simple is mainly sugar and you should stay away from the refined sugars. On the other hand, complex carbs are made of fiber and starch and take longer to digest.

Be sure to check out one of our previous articles to learn about some Foods To Boost Your Metabolism.