Are Carbohydrates (GOOD or BAD)??

       Most people cringe at carbohydrate or carbs and make them the first point of elimination when trying to loose weight. Carbs are not bad as we paint them because they supply glucose to the brain and body tissues to function well. 1g of Carb supplies the body with 4kcal of energy compared to alcohol and fat which are 7Kcal & 9Kcal respectively.

There are three (3) categories of carbs:
1) Simple Carbs/ Monosaccharides: This are simple in structure and contain only 1 sugar unit. They include glucose, fructose and galactose. They are the end product of digestion and easily utilized by the body.

2) Disaccharides: This group of carbs contain 2 monosaccharides. They are easily digested  Example include:
Sucrose: contains 1 glucose & 1 fructose unit. They are found in table sugar, soda, fruits, pastries, cookies, honey.
Lactose: contains 1 glucose & 1 galactose unit. It is also called milk sugar meaning they are contained in milk, yogurt, kefir.
Maltose: contains 2 glucose units. They are found in malt and also an immediate product from complex carbs digestion.
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3) Complex carbs: This category of carbs are divided into starch and fiber. They contain more than 2 simple sugar units in their structure. 
     They are found in grains like rice, millet, corn, oats, barley, rye, quinoa; legumes like beans, soybean, okpa (Bambara groundnut), fio-fio; tubers like potatoes, yam, cocoyam, cassava.


     Fiber are indigestible complex carbs found in so many foods which have great benefits to the body such as bowel movement and weight management. They are found in green vegetables, other vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and other starches.


     It is important to note that some complex carbs foods contain both starch and fiber but upon processing, can have the fiber removed. For example, whole wheat flour has fiber in it but when processed to white flour, it contains ONLY starch.

NOTE: The great thing about complex carbs is that they are digested slowly which leaves the body fuller for a long time compared to other carbohydrate groups.  In addition, foods that have fiber despite the carb group slows sugar rush to the body and makes one feel full. 
              For example 2 slices of whole wheat bread will make one fuller compared to 2 slices of white bread which has no fiber.

In summary, carbs are not BAD. However, when overeaten, the body converts the excess into fat. The most important thing is how best we combine them in each meal (BALANCE) & MODERATION. Complex carbs with fiber content should come 1st as the main carbs source and then balanced with simpler carbs if need be.

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