The most common forms of carbohydrates are derived from fibers, sugar and starches, found in whole grains, legumes, dairy, pasta, fruits and vegetables, and sugary food such as candy and soda. Carbohydrates are essential in providing the human body with energy converted from glucose, which help support the body’s physical functions and activity. Not all forms of carbohydrates can be metabolized by organisms in order to gain energy. Glucose found in carbohydrates is a universal source of energy and is generally metabolized first as opposed to monosaccharides and disaccharides. The Body’s Use of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a major source of fuel for the body’s metabolism and are used in the form of glucose as an energy source. Excess carbohydrates are stored in the liver and muscles cells in the form of glycogen. Since the majority of a human’s energy is derived from fats and protein, Carbohydrates are not a vital nutrition for humans. However, a lack of dietary fibers, which are a form of carbohydrates, can lead to a substantial rise of mortality. Healthy Carbohydrates
The quality of carbohydrates differs between the food sources. Not all carbohydrates are created equal and some are better for you than others. The carbohydrates found in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber and vital phytonutrients, all of which promote good health.
However, the carbohydrates found within highly processed and refined foods like baked goods, sugary drinks such as soda, and white bread are not the healthiest sources of nutrients. The carbohydrates found within these foods are quickly digested, which can contribute to weight gain, inhibit weight loss, and can lead to harmful disorders such as heart disease and diabetes. Because of these high risks in obesity and other disease, it is recommended by the Institute of Medicine that on 45-65% of adults’ food energy be obtained from carbohydrates.
Revised June 21st, 2016
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