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Beginners Guide to Carbohydrate

Probably the most important nutrient for the human body, certainly needed in the largest quantity. Carbohydrate isessential as it's our primary energy source. Herewe give youthe lowdown on carbohydrate, the forms it comes in and how much you should have.


How much carbohydrate do we need?

Carbohydrate typically contains 4 calories per gram andis needed in the following amounts per day to maintainbody weight:

To Maintain Body Weight
Weight (lb) CaloriesCarbs (g)

Carbohydrateaccounts for at least half of our energy. Without it we'd get our energyfrom proteins and fats. This is synonymous with a low carb diet where side effects are usually felt whenfirst undertaken. These include headaches, constipationand,predictably, an exhausted feeling. There are better ways of losing weight without sacrificing carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate comes in 2 forms

These are simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates are sugars. These are the carbs that typically give you a rush of energy and a crash when the energy expires. This is because they are simplemoleculesandare easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Examples of simple carbohydrates include:

  • candy/ chocolate
  • fruit juices
  • added sugars
  • biscuits
  • sweets
  • sodas/ soft drinks

Complex carbohydratesare mainly starch. Theseare the carbs that give a long slow releaseof energy into the body. This is because they are complex molecules and arenot easily absorbed into the bloodstream. This is a good thing because the energy lasts for a much longer period. This makes you less inclined to snack and put on weight. Examples of complex carbohydrates include:

  • breads
  • rice
  • pasta
  • potatoes
  • cereals
  • vegetables

Carbohydrate overall

The balance between the 2 carbohydrates in the diet should be as follows:

  • 80 % complex carbohydrate
  • 20 % simple carbohydrate

Our advice is that it may be beneficial to go higher with the complex carbs especially for weight loss. Simple carbs are easily stored as fat in excess quantities. Simple carbohydrates areespeciallyneeded in reduced quantities in children as sugarswill cause anincreasein tooth decay.

Overall ensure you get a good supply of complex carbohydrates everyday for good nutrition and wellbeing in a balanced diet.

Carbohydrate intake during fitness

Click above for intakeduring a day of 30, 60 and 90 minutes of exercise.

Recommended Daily Allowances

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