Carbohydrates are essential for the human body. They occur naturally in grains, nuts, milk, vegetables, fruit, seeds, legumes.
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.
Healthy carbs will be those that have a low glycemic index. Many of these are rich in dietary fiber, which has added health benefits.
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