Demystifying The Carbohydrate

By definition, carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in grains, vegetables, fruits and milk products. They are called carbohydrates because, at the chemical level, they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

The American Diabetes Association notes carbohydrates as the body’s main source of energy. Carbs provide the fuel for the bodies central nervous system and energy for working muscles. While some sources tout the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for active adults is approximately 135g or 45% – 65% of total calories. One gram of carbohydrates equals about 4 calories. A diet of 1,800 calories per day would equal between 200g – 204g of carbs. While all carbohydrates function as “quick energy sources”, simple carbs cause sudden bursts of energy while the complex carbs provide more sustained long lasting energy.

What Types Of Carbs Are There?

Simple Carbs. Simple carbs contain just one or two sugars, fructose and galactose. These carbs are found in syrups, soda and candy which are in most cases are made with refined or processed sugars with no nutritional value minerals or fiber.

Complex Carbs. Complex Carbs will have three or more sugars and are often referred to as “starchy or fibrous” carbs which include potatoes, corn, beans, lentils, whole grain breads and cereal.

“So what does all of this mean for me?!” You ask.

Counting carbs may seem to be a lot to handle. I say, moderation coupled with dedication will make what seems to be an arduous task, very simple. The key is knowing that good carbs are good for you. Bad carbs are NOT.

What does moderation look like?

Meals that include the “good carbs”. Whole grains, vegetables, beans & fruit. These will give you the needed healthy benefits providing you with fiber, vitamins and minerals. What does dedication look like? Dedicating yourself to cutting down on the “bad carbs” which include processed foods, pastries, sugary drinks, white breads and white rice.