The CalorieKing Carbohydrate Guide
Carbohydrate foods are an important part of any healthy diet
“Carbohydrate” is a word hot on everyone’s lips at the moment, and not usually in the friendliest sense. In fact, carbohydrates seem to be turning into the next evil scapegoat for everybody’s extra kilos. But the idea that carbs are somehow “bad” for you is unscientific, unwise, and misleading. Carbohydrate foods in their more natural forms are a very important part of a healthy diet. They provide energy, fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein, and water, all of which are crucial for a fit and sound body.
Read this guide to find out more about carbohydrates and the roles they play in the body. Learn how best to incorporate carbs in your diet and find out whether carbs really are fattening.
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What are carbohydrates?
In technical terms a carbohydrate is an organic compound made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. In food terms we find carbohydrates in many items such as cereals, grains, fruit, legumes, fruit juices, vegetables, milk, sugars, jam, honey, confectionery and soft drinks.
At a rudimentary level, carbohydrates can be described as either simple or complex:
Technically speaking, however, carbohydrates are classified by the number of single sugar molecules they contain. All carbohydrates are made up of one or more basic sugar molecules binding together to form monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.
Monosaccharides contain one sugar molecule. These are sugars in their most simple form. The most important monosaccharides are glucose, fructose, and galactose.
Disaccharides contain two sugar molecules joined together. The most important disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.
Polysaccharides can contain up to 10,000 glucose or sugar molecules linked together like a strand of pearls. The most important polysaccharides are starch and glycogen.
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