There are two types of carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates or sugar can be monosaccharides (one strand) or disaccharides (two strands), these sugars are generally used to provide us with quick energy. Complex carbohydrates are long strands of sugar that are arranged in 2 forms, starches or fiber. Starches are a plant based polysaccharide (many strands) that is digestible by human beings. Fiber is the indigestible residue of foods that are composed mostly of polysaccharides. There are two types of fiber, insoluble, which do not dissolve in water and soluble, which either dissolve or swell when in water.
The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide our bodies with energy. They are generally used as our body’s first choice in energy. Glucose or simple sugars provide our bodies with quick energy whereas complex carbohydrates like fiber and starches are stored for long term use and help contribute to other areas of the body like digestive tract health, and maintaining normal bowel function.
Typically about 50 to 60 percent of our calories should come from carbohydrates. You can log on to Choosemyplate.gov to see more information about carbohydrates and serving size.
Sources in the Diet
Recent Studies and Articles
Carbohydrates vs. fats
Tips to pick the best carbohydrates
-  – Boyle, Marie A. and Anderson Sara L. Personal Nutrition. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning; 2007
-  – United States Department of Agriculture. Calories. Choosemyplate.gov. Published June 2011. Accessed June 15, 2015
-  – Dole Nutrition Institute. The Dole Nutrition Handbook. Printed in the United States of America; Rodale Inc. 2010