Carbohydrates in a Diet, Good or Bad for You

Carbohydrates in a diet should provide 55 to 65% of total calories, each gram of carbohydrate provides 4 kilo calories. So we can see that the main component in a balanced diet is carbohydrates. Foods that provide carbohydrates are mainly bread, grains, cereals, vegetables and fruits. Milk and milk products are also a source of carbohydrates as well as protein.

Carbohydrates in a Diet, Good or Bad for You


In a 2000-calorie diet, between 900 and 1300 calories must come from carbohydrates. This translates into a daily intake of between 225 and 325 carbohydrates per day.

Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. They provide the energy through glucose, which is the final component obtained when the body processes or metabolizes food containing carbohydrates. Glucose is required for the cells to function properly and is used by all internal organs, the brain, the muscles.

Another point to take into account when ingesting carbohydrates, is that after being absorbed and broken down into sugars, (glucose being the final product) when passing into the blood it rises in addition to the level of the same, the hormone that regulates it, the insulin. The glycemic index of foods measures how much blood sugar rises after eating a precise amount of a food, if it is high there is a pronounced rise in glycemia and the hormone insulin. This insulin spike triggers biochemical signals that translate into hunger, which can promote excessive calorie intake and possible weight gain if carbohydrates are ingested in excess, or in presentations that lead to rapid absorption (such as liquids), or in processed form, which eliminates the accompanying fiber and vitamins in their natural (unprocessed) state.

When carbohydrates rich in fibre are ingested, sugars tend to pass more slowly into the blood, so that these peaks flatten out, thus indirectly producing more satiety, which helps to control weight. In addition to having less pronounced peaks of insulin, it is beneficial in patients with diabetes, and helps to prevent it in people who do not suffer from it.

It is important to consume carbohydrates in an integral form, be it bread, cereals, or grains. By consuming the whole or complete form of them, in addition to contributing to a better metabolism, we will be providing the necessary amount of fiber to our body, which allows the digestive system to function properly and helps to control blood cholesterol levels.

Fiber in the diet is the substance from plant cells that cannot be broken down by enzymes in the digestive tract. The recommended amount of fiber is 25 to 30 grams per day, from food and not from supplements. Of this amount, it is recommended that 6 to 8 grams come from soluble fiber (dissolves in water).

Practical recommendations

Grains and cereals

Carbohydrates in a Diet - Cereals


  • As a general rule, include at least one serving of whole grains in each meal.
  • Keep a container of oat bran or wheat germ and sprinkle it over salads, soups, breakfast cereals and yogurt.
  • Use whole wheat flour whenever possible when cooking, baking.
  • Choose whole wheat bread. Look at the bread labels and choose the one with the most fiber per slice.
  • Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Have whole wheat crackers on hand for a quick snack
  • Cook with brown or wild rice once white, if it is difficult to change, start by mixing them.

Legumes and beans

Carbohydrates in a Diet - Beans


  • Experiment with international dishes, such as Indian or Middle Eastern dishes that use whole grains and legumes.
  • Add beans, chickpeas, or other varieties of beans to your salads. Each serving of ½ cup provides 7 to 8 grams of fiber.
  • The fruits with the most fiber are apple, orange, tangerine, dog, blueberry, strawberry and raspberry. They have 3 to 4 g of fiber per cup. Raspberry up to 8g.

Fruits and Vegetables

Carbohydrates in a Diet - Fruits and Vegetables


  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat preferably fresh fruit, which has more fiber than canned fruit. And consume the skin of the fruit whenever possible.
  • Eat fresh fruit for dessert.
  • Eat the whole fruit instead of juices, since they do not have fiber, in addition to having a high glycemic index, because the absorption of them is very fast, so that glucose and insulin levels also rise rapidly.
  • Add chopped dried fruits to your cookies, buns, pancakes, or breads before baking. Dried fruits have more fiber than fresh fruits. For example 1 cup of grapes has 1 gram of fiber, but 1 cup of raisins has 7 grams. It should also be noted that dried fruit has many more calories than fresh fruit, so portions should be small if you do not want to gain weight.
  • Add sliced bananas, peaches or other fruits to your wax.
  • Grate carrots on your salads.

Vegetables that provide 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving are half a cup of peas or cauliflower, 1 cup of carrot, 1 medium sweet potato, or half a cup of pumpkin.

The fruits with the most fiber are apple, orange, tangerine, dog, blueberry, strawberry and raspberry. They have 3 to 4 g of fiber per cup. Raspberry up to 8g.

RELATED: Homemade Low Carb Pancakes Recipe

Click to comment