According to McKinley Health Center from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, carbohydrates are important because they serve as a fast source of energy and are required by the central nervous system, kidneys, brain and muscles to maintain normal function. Dietary fiber is a type of carb that cannot be digested by the human body. It passes through the intestinal tract and helps with waste elimination, preventing constipation or hemorrhoids.Know More
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients crucial for survival, the other two being fat and protein. Carbs are found in foods like grains, potatoes, fruits and dairy and to a lesser extent in vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. For athletes, Active.com recommends a high-carb intake to optimize physical performance and mental training.
Some mild controversy exists over whether a low-carb or low-fat diet is more efficient for weight loss, but Georgiann Caruso from CNN reports that studies on the two demonstrated similar long-term results suggesting that neither is inherently superior. Linda Van Horn of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago wrote an editorial about the study and argues that focusing on eliminating one macronutrient in favor of the other is risky, while nutritionist Lauri Wright recommends that people serious about losing weight and improving health consult a dietitian to develop a personalized plan.Learn more about Nutrition & Diets
WebMD and the American Diabetes Association are two sources containing information related to the relationship between carbohydrates and diabetes. Carbohydrates impact the level of insulin in a person's body at a given time. Diabetics need to pay specific attention to insulin levels to manage their condition.Full Answer >
Complex carbohydrates from starch and sugar-free items are processed into the body in such a way that the blood glucose level may fluctuate dangerously throughout the day, according to Mayo Clinic. Carbohydrates from fruits, whole grains, low-starch vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products are healthier choices.Full Answer >
Fats contain more energy than carbohydrates because they need more oxygen for each carbon atom, which in turn produces more energy. This arises because there are more electrons surrounding each carbon atom in fat. While fat has a negative reputation, it is an important component of each person's diet, and intake should vary according to individual lifestyles.Full Answer >
UCSF provides a chart of the balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats that diabetics should limit themselves to, while a chart of foods sorted by their glycemic index is available on the International Diabetes Foundation's website. In general, carbohydrates should make up no more than 50 percent of a meal.Full Answer >