Carbohydrates are one of three major nutrients that you body needs for energy. Carbohydrates occur in plant foods and foods derived from plants.
What do carbohydrates do?
Carbs provide calories. Think of calories as energy for the body and brain. Besides providing needed energy, carbs are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. This is why you may feel weak, sluggish and light headed if you have ever tried low carb diets.
Carbohydrates are generally categorized as simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates have a more simple structure than complex carbs.
Simple carbs are easy to identify, just think sugars. Processed sugars like those found in table sugar, candy and carbonated beverages are often referred to as empty calories. These empty calories can lead to weight gain.
Simple carbs are not a bad thing if you get them from the most naturally occurring sources.
Complex carbs are generally referred to as starchy foods. Complex carbs tend to contain more fiber than simple carbs.
You should eat more complex carbs than simple carbs. Complex carbs have more vitamins, fiber and minerals that you need.
What Carbohydrates are Best to Eat?
The bulk of your carbs should come from the least processed and more complex carbohydrates.
For your needed simple carbs choose foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and milk products such as low fat yogurt.
How Much of my Diet Should be Carbohydrates?
For most people you should get from 45% to 60% of your calories from carbohydrates. Get the bulk of your carbs from least processed and complex sources. Avoid simple sugars and products made with an abundance of simple sugars such as sodas, cookies and cakes. Avoid them and you will lose weight.
Carbohydrates are not your enemy as some diet gurus would have you think. Without the right carbs in your diet you will be left feeling weak, tired, sluggish and light headed.
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