Diet Nutrition Information
Information About Dietary Carbohydrate
What are Carbs?
Carbohydrates (the name derives from carbon plus water) are one of three types of nutrients - the other two being protein and fat. Nearly all foods (except for oils/fats) contain a mixture of carbs, protein and fat, but what makes carbs different is that they are easily converted to energy by the body, so they supply most of our energy needs. This doesn't mean that carbs are more nutritious than fats or protein. Both fat and protein are absolutely vital for good health, and without a balanced diet of carbs, fat and protein, the human body quickly becomes malnourished.
Recommended Daily Allowance for Carbs
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published 2002, we should eat enough carbohydrates (mainly the complex low glycemic-index type of carbs) to account for 45-65 percent of our daily calories.
What are the Types of Carbohydrate?
Simple and Sugary Carbohydrates
Complex and Starchy Carbohydrates
Carbohydrate Foods Classified by the Glycemic Index
Recently, the Glycemic Index (GI) has become the standard for classifying carbohydrates. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a particular carb-containing food causes blood sugar to rise, compared with glucose. The higher a food is listed on the glycemic index, the faster it causes blood-glucose levels to rise. Foods are divided into high, medium or low glycemic index foods. In very simple terms, high-fiber foods tend to be lowest on the GI scale, while other complex carb foods tend to be medium GI, while simple carbs tend to have the highest GI value. However, some starchy foods (even though they are classified as complex carbs) can have a high glycemic value.
Carbohydrates Classified by Their Glycemic Load
As stated above, the glycemic index compares and classifies foods according the impact they have on blood-glucose. However, it doesn't measure normal portion-sizes: instead, it measures 50 grams of carbs in each food. So if a particular food contains only 10 percent carbs, the glycemic index measures 500 grams of that food, which can be quite an unrealistic measure. In comparison, a food's glycemic load value is based on normal portion-sizes. For more information, see Glycemic Load
Effects of Carbohydrates on Blood Sugar
Due to their differing chemical structures, simple carbs and complex carbs affect the body in different ways.
Simple and Sugary Carbohydrates
Nutrition Resources About Carbohydrate
RDA and Information
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