NUTRITION CORNER: We need carbohydrates to stay healthy

We need carbohydrates which our body breaks down into simple sugars, its major source of energy.

There are two major types of carbohydrates (or carbs) in foods: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates: These are also called simple sugars. They are found in refined sugars, like the white sugar which we found in sugar bowls and in candies like lollipop

Simple sugars are also found in  nutritious foods, such as fruit and milk. It is better to get our simple sugars from food like fruit and milk because sugar isn’t added to these foods and they also contain vitamins, fiber, and important nutrients like calcium. A lollipop has lots of added sugar and doesn’t contain important nutrients.

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand are also called starches. Starches include grain products, such as bread, crackers, pasta, and rice. As with simple sugars, some complex carbohydrate foods are better choices than others. Refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, have been processed, which removes nutrients and fiber. But unrefined grains still contain these vitamins and minerals. Unrefined grains also are rich in fiber, which helps our digestive system work well. Fiber helps us feel full, so we are less likely to overeat these foods. That explains why a bowl of oatmeal fills us up better than sugary candy with the same amount of calories as the oatmeal.

Both types of carbohydrates can be part of our healthy diet.#