3-rx.comCustomer Support
HomeAbout UsFAQContactHelp
News Center
Health Centers
Medical Encyclopedia
Drugs & Medications
Diseases & Conditions
Medical Symptoms
Med. Tests & Exams
Surgery & Procedures
Injuries & Wounds
Diet & Nutrition
Special Topics

\"$alt_text\"');"); } else { echo"\"$alt_text\""; } ?>

You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Carbohydrates
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism


Alternate Names : Starches, Sugars

Overview & Description | Functions and Sources

Carbohydrates are compounds made up of sugars. They come from the starchy part of plant foods. They easily convert to sugar in the body. For this reason, carbohydrates are considered fast fuel.


In general, we can think of carbohydrates as either simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates refer to a single sugar molecule or two sugars linked together. Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugars linked together.

Simple carbohydrates include the following:

  • fructose, which is the sugar found in fruits
  • galactose
  • glucose
  • lactose, the sugar found in milk
  • maltose
  • sucrose, which is common table sugar
  • People who live in developed nations generally eat and drink too many simple carbohydrates. A rise in childhood obesity in these countries is linked with this high sugar intake.

    Complex carbohydrates are the basis of a healthy balanced diet. Some good sources of complex carbohydrates are:

  • grains, including oats, rice, and wheat
  • foods made from grain, such as bread, cereal, and pasta
  • legumes, including dried peas and beans
  • vegetables, such as potatoes, peas, and corn
  • The food guide pyramid recommends 6 to 11 servings of complex carbohydrates every day. The American Heart Association, called AHA, recommends that 55 to 60 percent of a person's daily calories come from complex carbohydrates. However, AHA warns that a diet too high in carbohydrates can cause changes in blood cholesterol levels. Getting more than 60 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates can raise triglyceride and fat levels. It can also lower the levels of HDL, which is called good cholesterol.


    Next section


    Carbohydrates: Functions and Sources

    Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 10/14/02

    \"$alt_text\"');"); } else { echo"\"$alt_text\""; } ?>

    Home | About Us | FAQ | Contact | Advertising Policy | Privacy Policy | Bookmark Site