Carbohydrates are the sugar, starches and dietary fibre that occur in plant foods and dairy products. Carbohydrates are also the main source of energy for the body.
Carbohydrates are divided into six broad groups:

- Monosaccharides: glucose, fructose, galactose.
- Disaccharides: Sucrose, lactose, maltose
- Oligosaccharides: fructo-oligosaccharides, malto-oligosaccharides
- Polyols: isomalt, maltilol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol
- Starch polysaccharides: Amylose, Amylopectin, maltodextrins
- Non-starch polysaccharides(dietary fiber): cellulose, pectins, hemicelluloses, gums, inulin.

In layman’s terms, carbohydrates can be group in three small groups:

- Dietary fiber: This is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot easily digest. It occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. Fiber is a complex healthy fiber.

- Starches: starches are complex carbohydrates that provide vitamins and minerals. It ca. be found in vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, etc.

- Sugar: This is a simple type of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are broken down by the body quickly. There are two types of sugars; naturally occurring sugars(found in dairy products and fresh fruits) and added sugars (found in ice cream, candy bars, etc)

Carbohydrates are one of the three macro nutrients your body needs alongside protein and fats daily. Some benefits of carbohydrates include:

- Carbohydrates fuel your brain
- They help reduce bloating
- They improve sleep
- They will keep you energized
- Carbohydrates aid digestion
- They improve muscle mass

When it comes to carbohydrates, the idea is to eat the healthy carbs. Healthy carbs contain:

- Low to moderate calories density. You can eat to you fill without adding up calories
- No refined sugar and grains
- A variety of nutrients
- Natural dietary fiber
- Low sodium and saturated fat
- Zero cholesterol and trans fat.

Experts recommend you should consume between 225 to 325 grams of healthy carbohydrates daily but age, gender, medical conditions activity levels and weight goals can affect this amount so it isn’t fixed.It’s normal to want to remove rice, fizzy drinks and chocolate from your diet in a bid to cut down carbs but you need to apply caution as the replacements you pick could still be packed with high sugar and calories content. Below are some surprising sources of carbohydrates to watch out for:

- Fruit flavored yogurt
- Coleslaw
- Sugar free foods. Many of these foods substitute sugar with sugar alcohols which are heavy in carbs.
- Peanut butter
- Milk
- Multivitamins
- Corn
- Protein bars, etc

Article credit : Cocci Beauty