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Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate is an essential nutrient that is an excellent source of energy (measured as calories) for the body and is the preferred fuel for the brain and nervous system. All forms of carbohydrate increase a person's blood sugar level, depending on the amount of carbohydrate in the food.

Carbohydrate comes in two forms: starch and sugar.

  • Starch (complex carbohydrate) is found in foods such as breads, cereals, grains, pasta, rice, flour, legumes, and vegetables. Foods high in starch provide longer-lasting energy than simple carbohydrates.
  • Sugar (simple carbohydrate) is found in foods such as fruits, juices, milk, honey, desserts, and candy. Foods high in simple sugar provide quick energy.

Last Revised: January 25, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

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