Carbohydrates are the food components that supply your body with the energy it needs for its functions. The energy value for the digestible carbohydrates is 4 calories for every gram. Your body needs carbohydrates along with fats and proteins. Essentially, these are the three macronutrients that the human body needs if it is going to function correctly. As we shall see later in this post, there are different types of carbohydrates. Some of these carbohydrates occur naturally in our food. However, others are manufactured and later added to the processed foods. Some examples of foods rich in carbohydrates are grains, pasta, pastries, fruits, bread, and cereals. You need to learn more about different carbohydrate types so that you can always make healthy food decisions.

Even though there are so many health benefits of carbohydrates, you must ensure that you consume them in moderation. A carb-intensive diet could lead to high blood sugar levels and unwanted weight gain if you did not know. In this regard, you must ensure that you are eating the correct amount of healthy carbohydrates. This will help you in meeting the body’s nutritional needs without adding unnecessary weight.

The Different Types of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are comprised of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, and they are always classified differently. The precise way is by their chemical structure. Sugars are classified as disaccharides and monosaccharides. On the other hand, the more complex carbohydrates are classified as oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Essentially, 3 different types of carbohydrates are found in food. There is, however, the fourth category too. Let us have a look at these types of carbohydrates.

1. Sugars

These are also commonly referred to as the “simple carbohydrates,” which are essential molecules of simple sugars. Examples are glucose, galactose, and fructose, all known as monosaccharides. When two of such molecules come together, they are referred to as disaccharides. Avery good example of that is sucrose or table sugar. This one is comprised of fructose and glucose molecules. Lactose is yet another example which is basically a combination of galactose and glucose.

2. Starches

These are the complex carbohydrates which are also known as polysaccharides. They are composed of long chains of glucose. The body will break down these starches where some are broken more rapidly than others. They become glucose that is responsible for producing energy. There is a unique starch known as resistant starch, which is valuable for colon health and weight loss.

3. Fiber

This can also be described as a complex carbohydrate. You will find fiber in the cellulose of plant-based foods like legumes, vegetables, nuts, and grains. The dietary fiber can either be soluble or insoluble. This one will pass through your body without having to be digested fully. What this means is that the body will absorb fewer calories. Research is, however, still ongoing to understand the number of calories different types of fiber have.

4. Oligosaccharides

To sum up, the list of different types of carbohydrates is oligosaccharides. This category lies in between starches and sugars. Generally, oligosaccharides are some fermentable mix of simple sugars. These have sound effects in the colon and are generally considers prebiotics.

Which Types of Carbohydrates Should I Eat?

You basically need to consume some carbs to supply your body with the energy it needs. With the different carbohydrates available, it is essential to consume the suitable types of carbohydrates for your health.

When you opt for grains, go for whole grains as opposed to refined grains.

Examples of whole grains are foods like brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and whole cornmeal. These offer so many nutrients that are required by your body. Examples of these nutrients are fiber, minerals, and vitamins. To know whether a product contains so much whole grain, you should check the ingredient list on its package. This will tell you whether the whole grain is among the few items that have been listed. Refined grains are those foods that have some grains removed. You need to understand that this can also remove some essential nutrients that are ideal for your health.

Avoid products that have too much-added sugar.

The reason for that is that food with too much-added sugar can have more calories than nutrition. When you overeat added sugars, you will be raising your blood sugar levels, leading to a massive weight gain. Telling whether your drink or food has too much added sugar is very simple. All you have to do is look at its nutrition facts label on the back of its package. That tells you how much of the total sugar is in the food or that drink.

Related: Sports Nutrition Supplements: An Overview for Sports Dieters

Health Benefits of Carbohydrates: Why Do You Need Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary and reliable source of energy, as we stated earlier. They will help in fuelling the brain, heart muscles, the central nervous system, and the heart muscles. For example, fiber is one carbohydrate that will significantly help indigestion. It also helps keep you feeling full and keep the blood cholesterol levels in check. The body can store additional carbohydrates in the muscles and the liver. These can be used whenever you are not getting adequate carbohydrates in your main diet. You also need to note that carbohydrate-deficient diets have some side effects as well. Among the problems that you might encounter include;

  • Headaches
  • Bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Mineral and vitamin deficiencies

The Bottom Line

You need to pay attention to the type of food that you are eating. This way, you will enjoy a healthy diet with fewer carbohydrates than the starchy and sugary diet we consume today. This article focused on the different types of carbohydrates so that you can have some facts about carbohydrates. In this regard, you should keep away from the added sugars, refined grains, processed foods as much as you can. To feel and also look better, choose nutrient-rich healthy carbohydrates. A few and simple changes will take you a long way. You will therefore experience some weight loss as well as an improvement in your general health.