Carbohydrates


Nutritional Value for 1 medium-sized apple - Good carbs!

Carbohydrates come in the form or sugar or starch. Sugars are simple and can be used by the body immediately as they are already in the form that can enter the bloodstream (glucose). These simple carbs include foods like candy, cakes, soda, jellies, syrup, and fruit. But you’ll notice that while fruit has sugar, they also provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber (click here for more information of Fiber). Starches are complex carbohydrates, meaning your body takes longer to digest them. Starches include breads, grains, pasta, rice, tortillas, noodles, and vegetables. Complex carbs have a nutritional advantage over the simple carbs as they provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Most experts recommend that carbs account for approximately 60% of our total caloric intake. For example, if your BMR is 2,000 calories a day, you’ll want to get 1,200 calories from carbohydrates. This is equivalent to 300 grams of carbs - one gram of carbohydrates is equivalent to 4 calories.

Carbohydrates probably account for most of our daily intake, and while we should monitor the types and amounts of carbs we eat, we should also realize that they are an essential part of our diet. For those that have eliminated carbs on fat / protein diets, their bodies will have to work harder to convert fat to energy. This results in a sluggish feeling as energy stores in the muscles and brain can become depleted with daily activities and exercise. While some carbs should be limited or eliminated from our diet, many others are full of nutrients and are great sources of fuel for you and your fitness plan.

Carbs are often blamed for weight gain, but this is only partially true.  I would suggest that we need to practice moderation and avoid empty calories!  These include sugary drinks; snacks like chips and cookies; and fat and sugar-filled desserts!  Try replacing these with:  water! (add a lemon or lime for taste and Vitamin C!); have a cup of yogurt for a snack; and trim down the portion size for desserts without eliminating your treat (small bowls help with ice cream!).   

Try to add good carbs to your diet: whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables. These foods taste great and will give you the energy you need to succeed. Diabetics and those that monitor their blood sugar will need to pay special attention to carb intake and should consult their dietician or physician.



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