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Carbohydrates; Sources, Roles and Health Benefits.

Carbohydrates are macronutrients that provide useable energy for the body. They are also important for brain function and mood regulation. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source.

There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly by the body and include sugars such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and include starches such as those found in grains, vegetables, and legumes.

Carbohydrates have a number of important functions in the body. They provide energy for the brain, muscles, and other organs. Carbohydrates also help to regulate blood sugar levels and store energy for later use. Additionally, carbohydrates are a source of dietary fibre, which is important for gut health.

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, dairy products, and sugary foods and drinks.


Carbohydrate food plate


What Are The Health Benefits of Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates provide a number of health benefits, including:

  • Energy: Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. When carbohydrates are eaten, they are broken down into glucose, which is then used by the body's cells for energy.

  • Blood sugar regulation: Carbohydrates help to regulate blood sugar levels. When carbohydrates are eaten, blood sugar levels rise. However, the body's pancreas releases insulin, which helps to lower blood sugar levels.

  • Brain function: Carbohydrates are essential for brain function. Glucose is the brain's primary and preferred source of energy. When blood sugar levels are low, the brain can become impaired.

  • Mood regulation: Carbohydrates can help to improve mood and reduce stress. When eaten, carbohydrates increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has mood-boosting effects.


Roles Of Carbohydrates In The Body


The role of carbohydrates in brain function:

The brain is a very energy-intensive organ, and it relies on glucose for fuel. When blood sugar levels are low, the brain can experience problems with concentration, memory, and mood.


The role of carbohydrates in gut health:

Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body. However, dietary fibre plays an important role in gut health. It helps to keep the digestive system healthy and regular, and it may also help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.


The role of carbohydrates in weight management:

Carbohydrates are often blamed for weight gain, but this is not necessarily the case. The type and amount of carbohydrates that you eat are more important than carbohydrates themselves. For example, eating processed carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, while eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight.


The role of carbohydrates in athletic performance:

Carbohydrates are essential for athletic performance. They provide the body with the energy it needs to sustain physical activity. Athletes typically need to eat more carbohydrates than people who are not active.


plant-based food. Carbohydrate

Dietary sources of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods, including:

  • Fruits: Fruits are a good source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples of fruits that are high in carbohydrates include bananas, grapes, mangoes, and papayas.

  • Vegetables: Vegetables are a good source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples of vegetables that are high in carbohydrates include potatoes, corn, peas, and beans.

  • Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples of whole grains include oats, brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread.

  • Legumes: Legumes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Some examples of legumes include lentils, beans, and chickpeas.

  • Dairy products: Dairy products are a good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Some examples of dairy products that are high in carbohydrates include milk, yoghurt, and cheese.

  • Sugary foods and drinks: Sugary foods and drinks are a good source of simple carbohydrates, but they are also high in calories and low in nutrients. Some examples of sugary foods and drinks include candy, cake, soda, and juice.

How much carbohydrates do we need?

The recommended daily intake of carbohydrates for adults is 45-65% of total calories. However, the optimal intake of carbohydrates varies depending on individual factors such as age, activity level, and health status. For example, people who are very active may need more carbohydrates than people who are less active. Additionally, people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, may need to limit their intake of carbohydrates.

Choosing healthy carbohydrates

When choosing carbohydrates, it is important to focus on complex carbohydrates from whole, unprocessed foods. Complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly by the body, which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. Additionally, complex carbohydrates are often high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It is also important to limit processed carbohydrates, sugary foods, and drinks. Processed carbohydrates are often high in simple carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike and crash. Sugary foods and drinks are also high in calories and low in nutrients.

Tips for making healthy carbohydrate choices:

  • Choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and provide more sustained energy.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, and vitamins and minerals.

  • Limit processed carbohydrates. Processed carbohydrates such as white bread, sugary drinks, and candy are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats.

  • Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, and vitamins and minerals.

Conclusively, carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet. Choosing healthy carbohydrates can help to improve overall health and well-being.

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient that play a number of important roles in the body. By making healthy carbohydrate choices, you can reap the benefits of carbohydrates while minimizing the risks.



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