Carbohydrates are the body’s natural energy source, and it will always use carbs first when converting food to energy. When your body has used up all the glucose converted from carbs it will start burning muscle tissue for energy, this is why you need to consume a sufficient amount of carbs each day, ideally in the morning and afternoon.
Carbohydrates are found in almost all foods. There are two types of carbohydrate, Simple Carbs-which are absorbed quickly and are found in fruit, and Complex carbs which have a slower absorption rate, and are found in vegetables, beans and grains.
The more active you are in the course of a day, the higher your carbohydrate intake will need to be. Some professional athletes consume 10,000 calories a day, and a high percentage of this is carbohydrate. The flip side of this is that any carbohydrates that are not used by the body for energy will get stored in the body as fat. A lot of people end up gaining weight because they eat too many carbs relative to their energy output.
The inclusion of Carbohydrates is important when creating a balanced diet; they provide the body with vital nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fibre. Make sure you have a varied intake of fruits vegetables and grains to insure you are getting sufficient amounts of nutrients from your food.
|Grain Based Food||Fruits||Cooked Vegetables||Raw Foods||Alcohol|
|These Supply high amounts of energy for longer. They are broken down slowly into glucose by the body, so they have a low GI score||Barley. Oatmeal, Wholegrain Rye Bread||Apples, Apricots(fresh), Blackberries, Cranberries, Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Pears, Plums, Strawberries||Artichokes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Greens, Kale, Leeks, Onions, Pak Choi, Peppers, Spinach, String Beans||Bean Sprouts, Mushrooms, Raw Sprouted Beans and Seeds, Tomatoes, Various Salad Leaves|
|These have a medium GI score, so they provide reasonably good levels of energy at a fairly steady rate.||Brown Rice, Couscous, Granola Bars containing Nuts, Pumpernickel Bread, Wholemeal Bread, Whole wheat Pasta and Spaghetti||Blueberries, Cherries, Grapes, Loganberries, Mango, orange, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Tangerine||Carrots, Courgettes, Kidney Beans, Pumpkin, Turnips, Yellow Squash||Avocado, Beetroot, Carrots, Celeriac, Olives|
|These are either refined, low in fibre, high in sugar, or a combination of all 3. They have a high GI score and provide only short term energy||Bagels, Biscuits, Breadsticks, Breakfast Cereals, Croissants, Donuts, French Bread, Melba Toast, Muffins, White Bread, White Pasta and Spaghetti, White Rice||Bananas, Dried Fruit, Figs, Fruit Juices, Prunes||Aubergines, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes (baked, boiled, mashed), Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Yams||Beer, Spirits, Wine|