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17th July 2018

Carbohydrates are a component of food that supplies energy through calories to your body.

Along with proteins and fats, carbs are one of the three micronutrients needed for a healthier, balanced diet.

The main carbohydrate types are:

  • Sugars- Also known as ‘simple’ carbs. They consist of molecules of simple such as glucose, fructose (fruit sugars) and galactose.
  • Starches- Also known as ‘complex’ carbs. These are composed of long chains of glucoses. Your body breaks down starches into glucose to produce energy.
  • Fibre- Fibre is a carb found in the cellulose of plant-based foods such as grains, vegetables, and nuts. It cannot be broken down for energy use in the body and includes both soluble and insoluble fibres.

When you consume fibre, most of it goes through to your digestive tract without being digested. Fibre rich foods contain different proportions of the two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibre (such as citrus fruits, apples and oats) keeps your blood sugar steady by slowing down the absorption of carbs into your system.

Insoluble fibre (such as brown rice, nuts and seeds) prevents constipation by keeping digestive wastes moving through the intestines.

The amount of carbohydrates you need to eat depends on how many calories you burn everyday and how active you are.

Generally, it is suggested that you eat roughly 40% of your daily calories from carbohydrates. But, if you tend to do a lot of extensive exercises, you may need more.

Many people try to take a ‘low-carb’ approach to weight loss. However, cutting your intake too far can often backfire and may not provide your body with enough fuel for your active lifestyle.

Lumping together very different carbs like fruit and vegetables, beans, cookies and chips into one category and labelling all carbs as ‘bad’ is not going to be very beneficial to your diet.

All carbs are not created equal as each carb functions differently in your body making some carbs better than others.

Try to fil up on healthier carbs such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and potato.