Carbohydrate Summary

There are two major types of carbohydrates in foods:
Simple and complex Simple carbohydrates
These are also called simple sugars. Simple sugars are found in refined sugars, like the white sugar youd find in a sugar bowl. If you have a lollipop youre eating simple carbs. But youll also find simple sugars in more nutritious foods, such as fruit and milk. Its better to get your simple sugars from food like fruit and milk because they contain vitamins, fiber, and important nutrients like calcium. A lollipop does not.
Complex carbohydrates
These are also called starches. Starches include grain products, such as bread, crackers, pasta, and rice. As with simple sugars some complex carbohydrate foods are better choices than others. Refined grains such as white flour and white rice have been processed, which removes nutrients and fiber. But unrefined grains still contain these vitamins and minerals.
How the Body Uses Carbohydrates
For a healthy diet eating more complex carbs is better for you.
Carbohydrates are a main source of energy for the body and are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Chlorophyll in plants absorbs light energy from the sun. This energy is used in the process of photosynthesis, which allows green plants to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen and allows for the production of carbohydrates.

Recommendations are for 55 to 60 percent of total calories to come from carbohydrates (approximately 275 to 300 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet). The majority of carbohydrate calories should come from complex rather than simple carbohydrates. Of total caloric intake, approximately 45 to 50 percent of calories should be from complex carbohydrates, and 10 percent or less from simple carbohydrates.