Energy Nutrient: Carbohydrates and Fiber

Carbohydrates are the least expensive, most efficient, and most readily available source of food energy in the world. They include sugars, starches, and fiber. They are the main constituents of foods that are easy to produce: potatoes, grains, and legumes. In many of the less industrialized nations, carbohydrates may supply up to 80% of the daily calories, whereas in the U.S., approximately 40-45% of the daily calories are provided by carbohydrates.

Most of the carbohydrates in the American diet come from grains and refined sugar. A smaller percentage is contributed by fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and dairy products.

Carbohydrates consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They may vary greatly from simple sugars (glucose) to complex carbohydrates such as starch (long strings of simple sugars) and fiber. The carbohydrates we eat are composed mostly of starch, sugar, and fiber. The complex carbohydrates must be broken down to simple sugars before we can use them for energy. An exception is fiber (which we don't digest) that passes through the body undigested.

Increasing one's dietary fiber has been shown to lessen the risk of colon cancer. Carbohydrates, in themselves, are not nutritionally bad or necessarily fattening. We should, in fact, increase our carbohydrate intake, but it should be of the more nutritious kind, rather than refined sugar and grains. Caloriesfrom these sources have been referred to as "empty calorie" carbohydrates.

Obesity has been correlated with the excess consumption of these empty calorie carbohydrates. Heart disease and diabetes have been implicated in the abuse of sugar in the diet. Additionally, dental caries (cavities) are also known to be largely the result of eating refined sugars.


  1. Eat more whole grain bread and cereal. This will also add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the diet.
  2. Eat raw fruits as frequently as possible.
  3. Eliminate refined sugar (and cereals) from your diet.
  4. Reduce consumption of processed foods.
  5. Pay close attention to food labels. All words ending in "-ose" represent a form of sugar.

Low Carb Diets

Low Carb diets helps to lose weight quickly for those who are facing obesity problems or who want to reduce weight loss in a short span of time. The easiest way to follow a diet is to create your own weight loss plan based on the foods you love. Aim to cut down on "bad carbs" such as white breads, crisps and sugary snacks and aim to eat more "good carbs" including fruit and vegetables; it's as simple as that.

It is mostly found in teenagers that they love to eat junk food and carbonated drinks and they still complain that they are not losing the weight. Eating vegetables and Low carb diets are generally good for teenagers and help in maintaining good fitness. A low carb diet combined with fish and poultry with no calorie restrictions and low-fat dairy products is a simple healthy diet.

A healthy diet plan should include:

Carbohydrates, Proteins and fats: Your body needs carbohydrates as a source of fuel. If you don't eat enough carbs, your body will use stored energy (muscle or fat cells). Protein and fat are also important for a balanced diet but if you are watching your carbs, you may eat more fat and protein than your body actually needs in order to be full of energy.

Eating Vegetables, Fruits, and Whole Grains than simple sugars (candy, soda, and refined grains);

Physical activity such as running, swimming, dancing, yoga, soccer, or other physical activities that you enjoy; and

A balance of good nutrition and fitness to help maintain a healthy weight.

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