Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient for proper growth as well as a major source of our body’s energy when both at rest and at times of activity. Carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, cookies, candy, and even milk.

Carbohydrates are classified as either simple carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates.

  • Simple carbohydrates are in foods like soda, candy, white bread, white rice, crackers, and chips. These are foods that are often highly processed. Simple carbs are absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, which may lead to a fast “crash” in blood sugar, leaving you feeling even hungrier later. Fruit also has simple carbohydrates, but the carbohydrates in fruits are from a naturally occurring form of sugar, which is healthier than added sugars.  
  • Complex carbohydrates are found in foods like whole grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and vegetables. These carbs are absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream and help to make you feel more satisfied and less hungry.

What is the Recommended Daily Carbohydrate Intake?

For adults it is recommended that carbohydrates make up 45-65% of your total daily calorie intake. So, if you are on 1,700 calorie diet, you should aim for 765 to 1105 calories from carbohydrates. That translates to about 191 to 276 grams of carbohydrates a day.

Try to get most of your carbohydrate intake from complex carbohydrates and natural sugars and only moderate to fewer amounts from simple and refined carbohydrates.