HumansNutrition

What is a carbohydrate?

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When talking about food and nutrition, you might hear the word “carbohydrate” a lot. Aside from being a long and funny-sounding word, what exactly is a carbohydrate??

Carbohydrates are organic compounds that make up a significant portion of the diet for lots of people because they supply the body with energy. (Carbohydrates contain four calories of energy per gram.)

Believe it or not, but carbohydrates are the result of photosynthesis, the process in which plants turn the energy of the sun into food for themselves and any animals who eat those plants! (Neat!)

Carbohydrates are frequently grouped into two types, “simple carbohydrates” and “complex carbohydrates.” An example of a simple carbohydrate that you’re probably familiar with is sugar. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains, legumes (like beans and peas), and starchy vegetables. Nutritionally-speaking, complex carbohydrates usually supply the body with more nutritional value than simple ones; complex carbohydrates tend to have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals so many nutrition experts recommend eating simple carbohydrates in moderation.

(by Mya Kagan)

Exploration

Complex carbohydrates can be a good way of supplying your body with energy as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber! Have a grown-up help you figure out five different complex carbohydrates that you love to eat! Maybe you love having oats for breakfast, or think that chick peas and lentils are the most delicious types of beans. – These would all be good example of complex carbohydrates!!