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Carbohydrates provide the body with energy. They contain 4 kilocalories per gram and because carbohydrates are easier to digest than protein or fat, they are the most energy-efficient body fuel.

While carbohydrates contain lower calories than fat, which contains 9 kilocalories per gram, unburned carbohydrates are still stored in the body as fat. This is why many diet programs recommend the reduction of carbohydrates intake. Since most overweight individuals lead inactive lifestyles, they are unable to burn the excess calories they get from too much carbohydrate in their diets.

Carbohydrates are split in to two classifications: Simple and Complex.
Complex carbohydrates like potatoes, squash, pasta and breads, because they contain fibre and starch, take longer to digest and therefore are not easily dispensed to the body as glucose.
Simple carbohydrates like table sugar or fruits are great sources of quick energy but too much of these simple sugars, when they come in low-fibre diets, may also lead to health problems.

The healthier option is to take high-fiber carbohydrates because high-fiber diets are known to lower the incidence of high-cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Still even with high-fiber, carbohydrates must be taken in moderation because aside from them, most meals contain other energy sources like protein and fat.

Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors: Ryan Norfolk
Updated On: 05/12/2006


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