What Are Carbohydrates

YamsDefinition: A group of compounds containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  Glucose, glycogen, sugar, starches, fiber, cellulose, and various saccharides, are all carbohydrates.

     Carbohydrates are the body’s most readily available source of energy. Every gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories (units of energy). When carbohydrates are digested, they are changed into glucose, which circulates in the blood to the red blood cells and nervous system. They are also stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. There are two groups of carbohydrates. Simple sugars are found in candy, fruit, processed foods and juice. Complex carbohydrates examples include vegetables, whole grains and starchy foods, like beans. Since complex carbohydrates provide more long-term energy, they should be more abundant in the diet than simple sugars. Avoid or minimize processed and refined foods. They do not have as high a nutrient level as natural, unrefined foods.