Carbohydrates are found in wide variety of foods. The important sources are cereals (wheat, maize, rice), potatoes, sugarcane, fruits, table sugar(sucrose), bread, milk, etc. Starch and sugar are the important carbohydrates in our diet. Starch is abundant in potatoes, maize, rice and other cereals. Sugar appears in our diet mainly as sucrose(table sugar) which is added to drinks and many prepared foods such as jam, biscuits and cakes.
Carbohydrate consumed in food yields 3.87 calories of energy per gram for simple sugars and 3.57 to 4.12 calories per gram for complex carbohydrate in most other foods. Relatively high levels of carbohydrate are associated with processed foods or refined foods made from plants, including sweets, cookies and candy, table sugar, honey, soft drinks, breads and crackers, jams and fruit products, pastas and breakfast cereals. Lower amounts of carbohydrate are usually associated with unrefined foods, including beans, tubers, rice, and unrefined fruit. Animal-based foods generally have the lowest carbohydrate levels, although milk does contain a high proportion of lactose.
Good Carbs V/S Bad Carbs
Carbohydrates can be either simple (bad carbs) or complex (good carbs) based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them.
Complex Carbs (Good Ones)
Complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes contain longer chains of sugar molecules which take more time for the body to break down and use. This in turn provides a more even amount of energy to the body.
Simple Carbs (Bad Ones)
Simple carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with little real value for your body. Some of the examples of not so good simple carbs are soda, candy, artificial syrups, white rice, pasta, pastries and desserts.
Weight Loss & Carbohydrates
Carbs can play a big role in weight management of a human body. A regular and restricted intake of complex carbs can help maintain weight and control sugar in the body. Avoiding junk food, processed or packaged foods which has high levels of simple carbohydrates is always advised by health experts.
The chart below shows pros and cons of good carbs v/s bad carbs…