The American diet goes through trends that swing back and forth between high carbohydrate and low carbohydrate consumption. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, while some carbohydrates, such as added sugar, can contribute to weight gain, there are technically no bad carbohydrates. Scientifically carbohydrates break down into sugar, the main energy source for all the function of your bodies.
Simple carbohydrates are made up of single sugars that enter your blood stream with minimal effort from your body. Candies, white table sugar and sodas are all examples of foods with simple carbohydrates. Even though we typically associate simple carbohydrates with foods like candy and soda, which have little nutritional value, simple carbohydrates are not necessarily bad. According to the National Institutes of Health, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, milk and many vegetables are also examples simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates, according to he Harvard School of Public Health, contain three or more linked sugar molecules. They're called complex carbohydrates because the body has to break the linked sugars apart before they're small enough to enter the cells. They typically take longer to digest, which helps you stay full longer. Examples of complex carbohydrates are bread, whole grains, beans and nuts, starchy vegetables, crackers and cereals.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot break down. Rather than getting absorbed by our bodies, fiber travels though our bodies without being digested. This doesn't make it a useless carbohydrate, though. It helps control blood sugar, cholesterol levels and digestive regularity, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Examples of high fiber foods include ground flax seeds, whole grains, some fruits and vegetables.
- Photo Credit penny candy image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com
Functions of Carbohydrates in the Body
Of the three major macronutrients -- proteins, carbohydrates and fats -- carbs may have the worst reputation because of the proliferation of...
Main Functions of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a staple of a well-balanced diet, as they provide fuel to the body and mind. Carbohydrates--along with proteins and fats--keep...
Examples of Protein Foods
Protein is so essential that you simply wouldn't be able to survive without it. When you eat protein foods, your body breaks...
Fibrous carbohydrates are plant foods that contain high amounts of fiber. These complex carbohydrates go through your system without being broken down...
Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids & Nucleic Acids Information
"You are what you eat" is more than a cliche -- it's fact. Food is made up of compounds called macromolecules --...
What Are the Functions of Simple Carbohydrates?
Our bodies need carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates have one (single) or two (double) sugars....
What Are the 3 Types of Carbohydrates?
Muscles and the brain need carbohydrates to use as energy. Present in bread, rice, potatoes, fruits, vegetables and sweets, carbohydrates are converted...
What Are Fermentable Carbohydrates?
All carbohydrates break down into simple sugars; however, fermentable carbohydrates break down into sugars in the mouth, allowing the bacteria in your...
What Are the Characteristics of Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates typically comprise a large amount of a person's diet. Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods, including fruits, bread, potatoes...
List of Carbs
According to The Harvard School of Health, carbohydrates are necessary for fuel (energy) and good health. Carbs fall into two categories: simple...