There are three categories of carbohydrates.
Sugar, which is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is of three types – fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose), and milk sugar (lactose).
Starch is a complex carbohydrate in which multiple sugar units are bonded together. These occur naturally in vegetables, grains, cooked dry beans, peas, etc.
Fiber is yet another form of complex carbohydrate.
Foods are often measured on a glycemic index. The higher a food on the index, the higher the potential of raising the blood sugar level. Weight-loss diets typically recommend limiting foods that are high on the glycemic index. Some examples of such food are potatoes, white bread, snack foods, and desserts containing refined flour. Many healthy foods — such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products — are lower on the glycemic index.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45-65% of the daily calorie requirement. Starch and other complex carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars in the course of digestion. It is only then that they can meet the body’s needs for energy.
Additional reading references:
- Nutrition Facts- a guide to good health
- Natural Solutions for Obesity
- Natural Solutions for Diabetes