Carbohydrates come in a variety of forms. They are found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods: bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie. The most common and abundant forms are sugars, fibers, and starches.
Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity.
Types of Carbohydrates
There are three main types of carbohydrate in food:
● Starches (also known as complex carbohydrates)
It is important to remember that on the nutrition label, the term "total carbohydrate" includes all three types of carbohydrates. This is the number you should pay attention to if you are carbohydrate counting.
Do you know the majority of grain products in the US are made from wheat flour. These include pasta, bread and crackers but the variety is expanding to include other grains as well. Some other food high in starch are potatoes, corn, oats and rice.
There are two main types of sugar, the naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk or fruit and the added sugars such as those added during processing, like fruit canned in heavy syrup or sugar added to make a cookie. Remember that on the nutrition facts label, the number of sugar grams includes both added and natural sugars.
Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. When you consume dietary fiber, most of it passes through the intestines and is not digested.
For good health, adults need to try to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans do not consume nearly enough fiber in their diet, so while it is wise to aim for this goal, any increase in fiber in your diet can be beneficial. Fiber contributes to digestive health, helps to keep you regular, and helps to make you feel full and satisfied after eating.