Nutrition 101: Carbohydrates

Nutrition 101: Carbohydrates


Nutrition 101: Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate Sources

Fruits and vegetables; breads, cereals, pasta and rice; milk, yogurt and cheese; nuts and seeds; sweets and candy; soda and juice.

How Carbs are Used

Carbs are broken down and turned into glucose — a simple sugar. The glucose is then used for energy during exercise and energy for the brain. Glucose is stored for energy in muscles and maintaining stable blood glucose levels. After glucose is either stored or used, the excess is converted into fat.

Types of Carbs


  • Found in minimally or unprocessed whole foods.
  • Slow digestions & increase satiety.
  • Result in a more gradual insulin response.
  • Contain fiber, vitamins, minerals & protective antioxidants.
  • Examples: 100% whole grain breads & pastas; starchy vegetables; legumes; and nuts and seeds.


  • Found naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy, as well as in many processed foods.
  • Sharper insulin response in the absence of fiber.
  • Processing increases shelf-life but removes healthy fiber nutrients.
  • Examples: Fruits; vegetables; white bread and rice; sweets; soda and juice.

Choosing Carbs

Eat nutrient-rich carbohydrates. Get most of your carbs from whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Limit carbs from refined grains, processed foods, sweets, soda and juice.

Simple Tip: Look for a 10:1 ratio of carbohydrates to fiber when choosing breads, cereals, rice, past and snacks. As a general rule, for every 10 grams of carbohydrates, your grains should have at least 1 gram of fiber.


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