Main menu


How to Include Carbohydrates in A Healthy Diet


Carbohydrate Sources

Carbohydrates are often viewed negatively, especially in connection with weight gain. But not all carbohydrates are harmful. The diet must include carbohydrates in the appropriate amount because of their many health benefits. In fact, the body needs carbohydrates to function well.

But some carbs may be better for you than others. Learn more about carbohydrates and how to make healthy diet choices.

Understanding Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages. Most carbohydrates are found naturally in foods of plant origin, such as grains. Food manufacturers also add carbohydrates to processed foods in the form of added starch or sugar.

Natural Sources Of Carbohydrates Include:

- The Fruit

- Vegetables

- The Milk

- Nuts

- Cereal

- Seeds

- Legumes

Types Of Carbohydrates

There are three main types of carbohydrates:

Sugar: Sugar is the simplest type of carbohydrate. Sugar is found naturally in some foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and milk and dairy products. Types of sugar include; Fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose), and milk sugar (lactose).

Starch: Starch is a complex form of carbohydrate, as it is made of several sugar units mixed together. Starch is found naturally in vegetables, grains, and cooked dry beans and peas.

Fiber: Fiber is also a complex carbohydrate. Fiber is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cooked dry beans and peas.

More Carb Terms: Net Carbs And Glycemic Index

Terms like "reduced carbs" or "net carbs" often appear on product labels, but these terms aren't regulated by the FDA, so they don't have a standard meaning. The term net carbs is usually used to refer to the amount of carbohydrates in a product excluding fiber or excluding fiber and sugar alcohols.

You may also have heard of the glycemic index. The glycemic index ranks foods that contain carbohydrates according to their potential to raise blood sugar.

Diets to lose weight according to the glycemic index usually recommend limiting foods that are higher in the glycemic index. Foods with the highest relative GI rating include potatoes and corn, and less healthy options such as snack foods and desserts that contain refined flour. There are many healthy foods at the bottom of the glycemic index, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products.

How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need ?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. So, if you get 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should come from carbohydrates. This means you get between 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day.

You can find the carbohydrate content of packaged food on the Nutrition Facts label. The Nutrition Facts label lists the total carbohydrates, which include starch, fiber, sugar alcohols, and naturally occurring and added sugar. These labels may also list total fiber, soluble fiber, and sugar separately. You may also be able to find food calculators online or find information on the manufacturer's website.

Carbohydrates And Your Health

Despite the negative perception of carbohydrates, they are important to your health for several reasons.

It Gives You Energy

The body uses carbohydrates as its main source of energy. Sugars and starches are broken down into simple sugars during digestion, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream as blood sugar (blood glucose). From here, glucose enters the cells of the body with the help of insulin. Some of the glucose is used by the body to get the energy that powers you to do all the activities, be it jogging or even breathing itself. Excess glucose is stored in the liver, muscles, and other cells for later use or converted into fat.

Disease Prevention

Some evidence suggests that whole grains and dietary fiber from whole foods help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Fiber may also protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is also essential for optimal digestive health.

Weight Control

Evidence has shown that eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you control your weight. Its mass and fiber content helps control weight more by making you feel full on fewer calories. Contrary to popular belief about low-carb diets, there are very few studies showing that diets rich in healthy carbohydrates lead to weight gain and obesity.

Choose Carbs Wisely

Carbohydrates are an essential part of any healthy diet, and they provide many important nutrients. But carbohydrates vary in their usefulness. Here's how to eat healthy carbs in a balanced diet:

Focus on high-fiber fruits and vegetables: Choose whole, fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar. They are better choices than fruit juices and dried fruit, which are concentrated sources of natural sugar and therefore contain more calories. Also, whole fruits and vegetables add fiber, water, and fullness, helping you feel fuller using fewer calories.

Choose whole grains: Whole grains are a better source of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium, than refined grains. Refined grains go through a process in which parts of the grain — along with some nutrients and fiber — are removed.

Stick to low-fat dairy products: Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. However, choose low-fat products to limit calories and saturated fat. And watch out for dairy products that have added sugar.

Eat more beans and legumes: Legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, are among the most nutritious and versatile foods. Legumes are usually low in fat; It does not contain cholesterol, and is rich in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they are a good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy alternative to meat, which has more saturated fat and cholesterol.

Limit added sugar: Low amounts of added sugar probably aren't harmful. However, there is no health benefit from consuming any amounts of added sugar. In fact, too much added sugar, as with natural sugar in some cases, can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, malnutrition and weight gain.

Therefore, choose the carbohydrates you consume wisely. You should limit foods with added sugar and refined grains, such as sugary drinks, sweets and candy, as they are high in calories and have few nutrients. Instead, eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Roshin Damon is a professional journalist since 2011, a media graduate from Kuwait University, a technology expert, a media consultant and a member of the International Organization of Journalists - a member of the fact-checking team at Meta Company. He writes in the fields of entertainment, art, science and technology, and believes that the pen can change everything. Email: Email: