2.10 Carbohydrates

In this HeartStrong.com video/article, we are going to talk about the types of carbohydrates and the recommendations for how to integrate the right amounts and types of carbohydrates into your diet.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates, commonly called “carbs”, are an important part of everyone’s nutrition as the digestion of carbohydrates in your system provides the body with glucose, a type of sugar essential for the body to make the energy that you need to function. Carbohydrates should never be completely avoided, but it is important to eat the right type and the right amount of carbohydrates.

The term “carbo” means carbon and “hydrate” refers to water. The chemical structure of carbohydrates has carbon atoms linked together with hydrogen and oxygen.

There is quite a big diference in the type of carbohydrates that you eat and how they affect your heart health. Not all carbohydrates were created equal in regards to your health, so this topic is quite important for you to understand.

There are three main types of carbohydrates, which include simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Here are some examples of each:

Simple carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugars)

  • Table sugar and brown sugar
  • Corn syrup, maple syrup and honey
  • Natural sugars (fruits and vegetables)

Complex carbohydrate (a.k.a. starches)

  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Refined carbohydrates


  • Fruits and vegetables (less in potatoes)
  • Legumes (split peas, lentils, black/lima beans, nuts)
  • Whole grains

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