- Food Energy or Total Calories
- Linoleic / Omega 6
- Alpha Linoleic / Omega 3
- Vitamin A (RAE)
- Thiamin (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates provide the body with fuel it needs for physical activity and for proper organ function, and they are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates make up 45 percent to 65 percent of a healthy diet.
All food is made of three substances: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the energy source for the body. There are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Sugar and starches are the major types of carbohydrates. They supply energy to the body in the form of glucose, which is the primary energy source for the brain, central nervous system and red blood cells. Fibers do not supply glucose to the body, but promote laxation and lower the risk of certain diseases, such as coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Choose the best sources of carbohydrates—whole grains (the less processed, the better), vegetables, fruits and beans—since they promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and important phytonutrients.
Avoid the easily digested refined carbohydrates from refined grains—white bread, white rice, etc.— as well as pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods, since these have very few nutrients, may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.
What Carbohydrates Do for You:
- Provide energy by converting carbs to glucose and using the glucose to fuel the body
- Protect your muscles by keeping your body from using protein as an energy source
- Regulate the amount of sugar circulating in your blood
- Assist in your body’s absorption of calcium
- May help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood pressure
What Happens When There is a Carbohydrate Deficiency:
- The body resorts to using protein as an energy source, which can lead to many health problems
- Delayed mental activity
What Happens if Too Many Carbohydrates are Consumed:
- Increased blood glucose and insulin levels
- Weight gain (excess carbs not used by the body are stored as fat)
How Many Carbohydrates do You Need?
This table presents Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and Adequate Intakes (AIs) recommended by the USDA to maintain a healthy diet.
- * Adequate Intakes
Best Plant Sources of Carbohydrates: