Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. They are converted into glucose on digestion, which is then used for energy. Carbs provide 4 calories per gram and according to the Dietary Reference Intakes, 45%-65% of your daily calorie intake should come from carbs.
Carbohydrates are classified into two categories:
- Simple carbohydrates: Simple carbs are loosely referred to as bad carbs. These are easily broken down and digested by the body. As a result, they cause a rapid increase in blood sugar level. Also, since they are easily digested, chances are you will feel hungry again soon after consuming these. Further, majority of products containing simple carbs have minimal nutritional value.
Simple carbs are sugars such as the ones found in:
- Baked goods such as cakes;
- Table sugar (both white and brown);
- Jams; and
- Soft drinks.
However, there are certain simple carbs that contain a host of other nutrients. As such, these should be consumed as a part of a healthy diet. Examples are fruits and dairy products.
- Complex carbohydrates: These are also referred to good carbs. The body takes time to break down complex carbs. They provide sustained energy as there is a steady rise in blood sugar level. Further, it is less likely that you will feel hungry soon after consuming these.
Complex carbs are found in:
- Peas; and
- Wholegrain products such as brown bread, brown rice and brown pasta, among others.
Try and incorporate more of complex carbs in your diet and limit your intake of simple carbs.