Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrient groups, alongside proteins and fats, and they play a crucial role in providing energy for the body. Carbohydrates are organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. They are classified into different types based on their chemical structure:

Simple Carbohydrates (Sugars):

  • Monosaccharides: Single sugar molecules. Examples include glucose (found in fruits and honey) and fructose (found in fruits and vegetables).
  • Disaccharides: Pairs of monosaccharides. Examples include sucrose (table sugar), lactose (found in milk), and maltose (found in malted foods).

Complex Carbohydrates:

  • Polysaccharides: Chains of multiple sugar molecules. The primary types include:
    • Starch: Found in plants and serves as a storage form of energy.
    • Glycogen: Found in animals and humans, stored in the liver and muscles as an energy reserve.
    • Fiber: Found in plant cell walls, and it includes soluble fiber (found in oats, beans, fruits) and insoluble fiber (found in whole grains, vegetables).



Energy Source: Carbohydrates are the body's preferred and most efficient source of energy. They are broken down into glucose, which can be used immediately for fuel or stored as glycogen for later use.

Brain Function: The brain relies heavily on glucose for energy. Adequate carbohydrate intake is essential to support cognitive functions.

Cellular Energy: Carbohydrates play a vital role in providing energy to cells for various cellular activities and processes.

Protein Sparing: When there is insufficient carbohydrate intake, the body may use protein for energy, which can lead to muscle breakdown. Having enough carbohydrates in the diet helps spare protein for its primary functions in building and repairing tissues.

Digestive Health: Fiber is essential for maintaining digestive health. It aids in regular bowel movements and can contribute to the prevention of conditions like constipation.



Carbohydrate needs can vary based on factors such as age, sex, activity level, and overall health. In a balanced diet:

45-65% of total daily calories: National Institute of Health recommend that carbohydrates make up 45-65% of total daily calories. 1g of carbohydrates = ~4 calories.

Choose Whole Grains: Opt for complex carbohydrates rather than simple. Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat over refined grains.

Include Fruits and Vegetables: These provide not only carbohydrates but also micronutrients - essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Limit Added Sugars: Reduce the consumption of foods and beverages high in added sugars for better overall health.

It's essential to strike a balance and choose a variety of carbohydrate sources to ensure a well-rounded and nutritious diet. For individual needs consult with a healthcare or nutrition professional to determine your dietary needs and considerations.