Carbohydrate is an organic compound that is found consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is the most important and readily available source of energy of the body. Carbohydrate is one of the most essential elements of our body. Carbohydrate has been classified into two main groups – simple carbohydrate and complex carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrate consists of sugars like fruit sugar (fructose), grape sugar (dextrose), table sugar, etc. Complex carbohydrate consists of white bread, white rice, white pasta, etc.
Fruits: Fruits are relished by the people for their excellent taste and dietary importance. They are the rich resource of carbohydrates. Another variety of intake of fruits is by consuming fruit juice. However, raw fruits are generally recommended by the dietitians rather than fruit juice.
Studies indicate that around 60% of our calorie intake comes from carbohydrates. Fruits are a good source of fiber, antioxidants and nutrients as well. While pear, pineapple, grapefruit whole, apple, banana have high concentrate of carbohydrates, blackberries each, gooseberries, blackcurrant, cherries each, guava, lemon, raisins have low carbohydrate value.
Vegetables: Generally, vegetables have low carbohydrate concentrate than those of fruits, but some vegetables are rich in carbohydrates. Raw vegetables have low and calculated carbohydrate value. Yam, peas, potatoes, beet, parsnip, onion, spring onion, carrot and beans have high carbohydrate content while some vegetables like broccoli, celery, fennel, gourd, lettuce, marrow and peppers have low carbohydrate concentrate.
Dairy products: Most dairy products have rich source of carbohydrates. Milk and yogurt are rich sources of carbohydrates primarily lactose, protein, mainly casein and fat.
Whole Grains: Most Americans meet their carbohydrate goals by eating five to ten ounces of bread, cereals and rice with half of them coming from whole grains. Whole grains can be an important contributor of the daily carbohydrate needs. Most major countries have included wholegrain intake proposal in their public health guidelines.
Sugar: Sugar is simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested by the body. These include food like cake, pastry, soda, candy, jellies. Foodstuff made from sugar (white, brown, powered and as well as raw), honey and molasses are simple carbohydrates that provide little to the diet except extra calories. Excess extra calories may lead to accumulation of fat in the body.
Starches: Starch products are complex carbohydrates that cannot be absorbed by the body easily. Bread, grains, pasta, noodles, vegetables, and tortillas are complex carbohydrates.