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Carbs: Getting the essentials into your diet.

Published: June 17, 2016

A carbohydrate rich breakfast
A carbohydrate rich breakfast

Carbohydrates are major nutrients in the food you eat and are a major source of energy for your body. 

Dietary carbohydrates include starches, sugars and fibres, and many, but not all, carbohydrate containing foods are also sources of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytochemicals.
Although fibre does not contribute significantly to your energy requirements, fibre provides other benefits for your body such as maintaining a healthy digestive system, maintaining a healthy body weight, and removing excess cholesterol from your body.
Your body cannot synthesize sufficient carbohydrate, in the form of glucose, to meet your energy requirements and so it is necessary for you to obtain your carbohydrate requirement from food.  Carbohydrates are found in a wide range of foods.  
Many popular weight loss diets promote low carbohydrate consumption, but to maintain a healthy body you require a minimum amount of carbohydrate each day.
Unlike fat, which can be stored in your body in large amounts, your body can only store enough carbohydrate (glucose) to provide sufficient energy for one day. Therefore, you need to refuel your body with carbohydrate on a daily basis.
Inadequate carbohydrate consumption may result in loss of muscle mass as body protein is broken down into amino acids which can be used to provide energy.
You may also experience a condition known as ketosis which occurs when ketones are metabolised as a source of energy. Ketosis can adversely affect your body's homeostasis and your health.  
How much carbohydrate do you need to meet your personal requirements? What types of carbohydrate are healthiest? 
Much of the information about carbohydrate and how much you need is conflicting.  This course will help you determine the right amount and type of carbohydrate you need that will help you build a personalised eating for health plan. Topics discussed in ths course include:  

  • An overview of carbohydrate foods
  • Your carbohydrate requirement
  • Your carbohydrate requirement in tems of real food
  • Fitting carbohydrates into your diet.

Sign up for this course and learn how to get essential carbohydrates, and much more, into your diet.

References

1.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
2.
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.