Two forms-simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates are one, two or three units of sugar linked together in single molecules.

Complex carbohydrates are made up of hundreds to thousands of sugar units linked together as a single molecule.

Simple simple carbohydrates taste sweet while complex carbohydrates do not.

Simple carbohydrates-sugars-monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, and galactose) and disaccharides sucrose (glucose plus fructose), lactose (glucose plus galactose), and maltose (glucose plus glucose).

The three main types of carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fiber.

The human diet has two main forms of digestible carbohydrate, sugars and starches.

Both of these are macro nutrients that function to provide cellular energy.

Carbohydrates are simple or complex based on their chemical makeup and what the body does with them.

Sugars, mostly sucrose, or naturally present in fruits, whereas lactose, a disaccharide, is found in dairy products.

Starches are polysaccharides produced by all green plants, and common dietary sources include potatoes, rice, corn, and wheat.

Sugar is added to foods during processing include sugar, dextrose, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cane syrup, and honey.

High intake of added sugars is associated with excess energy, low quality, diets, and weight gain/obesity.

Complex carbohydrates have a longer series of sugars which the body takes longer to break down.

With complex carbohydrates there will be lower amounts of sugars released at a more consistent rate.

Foods with complex carbohydrates also typically have more vitamins, fiber, and minerals than foods containing more simple carbohydrates.

Many foods contain one or more types of carbohydrates.

Some sugars are naturally occurring, such as those in fruits and in milk, while refined or processed sugars are often added to candies, baked goods, and soda.

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for good health, and they naturally contain simple carbohydrates composed of basic sugars.

The fiber in fruits and vegetables changes the way the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbohydrates.

Added sugars can go by several different names: including brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, maltose, malt syrup, trehalose, sucrose, and honey

All nutrition labels must clearly identify the amount of added sugars per serving in the product, directly beneath the total sugar count.

Simple carbohydrates are composed of easy-to-digest, basic sugars, which can be an important source of energy.

Simple carbohydrates to limit in your diet include those found in:




Pastries and desserts

Sweetened beverages, such as lemonade or iced tea

Energy drinks

Ice cream

High carbohydrate diets are associated with increased in both fasting and postprandial triglycerides concentrations.

High carbohydrate diets reduces HDL, increases insulin and glucose levels.

High fat, low carbohydrate diets decreased levels of palmitoleic acid, a biomarker for obesity, insulin resistance and heart disease.

High carbohydrate, low-fat diet increased levels of palmitoleic acid indicating that the majority of consumed carbohydrates are converted to fat rather than being burned off for fuel.

Increasing intake of carbohydrates is related to increased levels of fatty acids.

Complex carbohydrates are divided into high and low fiber groups.

High fiber carbohydrates are not digestible.

The higher in sugar a carbohydrate is, the lower in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and the worse the food quality.

The digestive system breaks carbohydrates down into single sugar molecules that can cross into the blood system and converts most digestible carbohydrates into glucose, the universal energy source.

Complex carbohydrates must be digested by the enzyme amylase.

Conversion to sugar is reduced as the fat and acid content of food is increased.

Nutrient-dense complex carbs that are part of a healthy, balanced diet include:

Whole wheat breads, pastas, and flour,

Brown and wild rices,

Barley, Quinoa, Potatoes, Corn

Legumes, such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and others.

Low carbohydrate diets is associated with ketosis, constipation or diarrhea, headache, fatigue, halitosis, increased protein load to kidneys, that may alter acid balance, potentially increase mineral loss from bone stores and compromise bone integrity.

Whole grains, such as whole-wheat flour, quinoa, brown rice, barley, corn, and oats, among others, provide more nutrients than processed grains, such as white rice and breads, pasta, and baked goods made with white flour.

Poor quality carbohydrate foods contain a low amount of fiber, a higher percentage of refined grains than whole grains, and a higher  glycemic index to measure how much of a 50 g of carbohydrate from a specific food raises the blood glucose level.

The glycemic load factors into account both glycemic index and how much carbohydrate is in the food.

Determining the glycemic load: you multiply a food’s glycemic index number by the amount of carbohydrate the food contains per serving, and divide by 100.

A low GL is 10 or less; medium is 11 to 19; and 20 or greater is considered high.

GL can compare the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar in entire meals or snacks, whereas the GI for a food is only indicative of one food at a time.

Even if a food contains carbs that have a high glycemic index number, if the amount of carbohydrate is low then it won’t have as much of an impact: watermelon, which has a GI of 80 but a GL of only 5.

PURE study of 137,851 participants between the ages of 35 and 70 years, with a median follow up at 9.5 years determining dietary intake estimated glycemic index amd glycemic load on the basis of the consumption of seven categories of carbohydrate foods.: A diet with high glycemic index was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

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