Carbs, Carbs, Carbs!. Hutton Health

Carbs, Carbs, Carbs!

5th June 2022

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A common misconception is that carbohydrates are bad and should be avoided in order to lose weight. Carbs play an important role for our bodies and are an essential part of a balanced diet.

Why are carbohydrates needed in our diet?


Our body’s require carbohydrates as it is a main source of energy for bodily functions that keep our organs running properly. Other benefits of carbohydrates include:

  • Helps to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Help with the digestive system (prevents constipation!)
  • Allows the body to avoid using protein as an energy source which leaves it for other bodily functions such as growth and repair

The Facts about Carbohydrates:

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s most easily accessible source of energy.
  • Carbohydrates cannot be produced by the human body therefore must be supplied by the food that we eat.
  • Carbohydrates are broken up into glycogen, which is used by our muscles and liver; and glucose, which is used by our brain.
  • Many foods with carbohydrates also contain fibre which helps in lowering blood cholesterol and helps to maintain a healthy digestive system
What your body needs carbs for

Carbohydrates are classified into 2 categories: 

  • Simple carbohydrates, which are often called simple sugars and tend to increase blood sugar levels quickly.
  • Complex carbohydrates, which take more time to digest, therefore release glucose slowly.

Simple sugars can be found in nutritious food, such as fruit and milk, but because sugar is not added to these foods and they also contain vitamins, fibre and important nutrients, they are important to include in a healthy diet.

Complex carbohydrates often contain fibre which is an indigestible form of carbohydrate. Since humans are not able to break down fibre, it passes through the digestive system whole and removes other waste products along with it.

Good sources of fibrous carbohydrates include vegetables and wholegrain foods. 

Simple versus complex carbs illustration

Which foods contain good sources of carbohydrates?


Simple Carbohydrates

Processed foods such as cookies, candies, cakes, pastries are often   high in simple carbohydrates so consumption should be limited. Too many   simple carbohydrates in the diet can lead to health disorders, including   obesity.


Yams, beans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, fresh beets, broccoli,   asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, peas,   butternut squash, white potatoes


Apples, mangoes,   pears, grapes, grapefruit, peaches, berries, oranges, bananas, pineapple

Complex Carbohydrates

Refined grains, such as white flour and white   rice, have been processed, which removes nutrients and fibre. Unrefined   grains (wholemeal pasta/wholemeal bread) still contain these vitamins and   minerals and would be the healthier option.

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What happens if I don’t consume enough carbohydrates?

If you do not consume enough carbohydrates in your diet, you may experience a drop in blood sugar levels. This can result in feeling lightheaded and weak and affect concentration levels. Limiting carbohydrates can also lead to your body using stored fat for energy, which will eventually result in your body utilising protein for energy. This prevents protein from being used for other important bodily functions. 

Find out more about protein in our diet here.

Find out more about the pitfalls of restrictive diets here.

Protein and your health

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