What exactly is a Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the products of sugars , starches, fruit fibres, grains , vegetables, and milk. According to The American Diabetes Association, carbohydrates are the principal source of energy for the body. They are called carbohydrates, because they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen at a chemical level.
Carbohydrates are typically stated as a saccharide, which means “sugar”. Saccharides (a.k.a. carbohydrates or sugars) are divided into four types: monosaccharide, disaccharide, oligosaccharide, and polysaccharide.
The Latin prefix of each type of saccharide explains how many monosaccharides (simple sugars) are in each saccharide. Mono= 1, dia = 2, oligo = 3-9, and poly = more than 10. Monosaccharides and disaccharides like fruit or simple sugars are digested very quickly, while oligosaccharides and polysaccharides like higher fiber or starchy vegetables digest more slowly.
Monosaccharides are the building blocks of creating dia-, oligo-, and polysaccharides. The types of monosaccharides are: 1) glucose, 2) fructose, and 3) galactose.
Some of many examples of dia-, oligo- and polysaccharides are :
- Table sugar, also known as sucrose, is a disaccharide made from glucose + fructose.
- Milk sugar, also known as lactose, is a disaccharide made from galactose + glucose.
- Starch, glycogen, amylose, and inulin are all examples of polysaccharides, starches, and fibers.
- Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) is an oligosaccharide found in veggies and fruits.
Mono-, dia- oligo-, and polysaccharides are the basic building blocks of carbohydrates. Therefore Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods.
Whole food sources of Carbohydrates
- Lower sugar picks: green apples, cranberries, lemons, limes, raspberries, acai berry, goji berries
- Higher sugar picks: bananas, papaya, mango, pineapple, dates
- Milks, yogurts, cheeses, etc.
- All vegetables are carbohydrates! Yet, negligible amounts per serving (sometimes less than 5g)
- Starchy Vegetables
- Organic corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, green beans
- Beans, pulses, legumes
- Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, split peas, etc.
- Quinoa, rolled oats, millet, amaranth, wild rice, basmati rice, gluten-free breads, etc.
Carbohydrates aren’t the enemy – know what they are and how to determine what you need!
Here are some High-Carb Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy
1. Sweet Potatoes
9. Kidney Beans