Carbohydrates in the diet. A list of simple & complex carbohydrates.
The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy, especially the brain. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups: simple carbohydrates, which have one or two sugars and are absorbed more quickly, and complex carbohydrates, which have three or more sugars and are absorbed more slowly.
- Glucose – the simplest of the carbohydrates found in bread, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. It is quickly digested
- Fructose – a sugar that is found naturally in fruits
- Galactose – occurs naturally peas and in milk products
- Lactose – a double sugar made up of glucose and galactose
- Maltose – found in some vegetables and beer. Maltose is a double sugar, formed by two glucose molecules. Maltose is also known as malt sugar.
- Sucrose – a double sugar made up of a fructose and a glucose. Sucrose is commonly used as table sugar and also found in maple syrup, beet sugar or cane sugar
Complex carbohydrates are often rich in fiber and are also often high in vitamins and minerals.
These are a great sources of complex carbohydrates:
- Green vegetables
- Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
- Beans, lentils, and peas
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