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Fuel Up With Carbohydrates

Timeless Nutrition Tip

Carbohydrates are the food fuels our bodies prefer, which is one of the reasons carbohydrates are the foundation of the Food Guide Pyramid.

Approximately 55 to 60-percent of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates.

The body uses carbohydrate before it uses fat. Fat does not become available to use as energy until after 20 to 30 minutes of hard aerobic exercise. (That is why the easiest way to lose weight is to exercise at least 30 minutes per day.)

Fuel Up With Carbohydrates Carbohydrates come in two forms: Complex and simple.

  1. Complex carbohydrates are sometimes called starches.
  2. Simple carbohydrates are sometimes called sugars.

Grains, including bread, pasta, crackers and cereal and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, beans and peas are loaded with complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are found in table or refined sugar (sucrose), milk products, (lactose) and fruit.

Refined sugar, soda and candy are considered added sugar in the Food Guide Pyramid. These foods provide energy, but little other nutrients. However, refined sugar is not bad sugar and there is no evidence that sugar causes hyperactivity or diabetes. (See Don't Blame Sugar).

Good Carb Example

Bagel with Cream Cheese vs. Yogurt with Granola.
Calories, carbohydrates and number of fat grams are similar in both of these breakfast favorites. But half of the bagel combo's fat is saturated, and it contains nearly 600 milligrams of sodium - more than a fifth of your recommended daily intake. The yogurt-granola combo packs almost as much calcium as a glass of milk (223 milligrams). There is half the sodium and cholesterol of the bagel.

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