Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate is an important nutrient found in many foods. Carbohydrate containing foods include breads, breakfast cereal, rice, pasta, noodles, fruit, potato and starchy vegetables, corn, dried beans and lentils, sugar, milk and yoghurt.

Carbohydrate is an important source of energy for the body. Many carbohydrate-containing foods are high in dietary fibre and are healthy food choices. Try to eat carbohydrate-containing foods in every meal to provide the body with energy throughout the day.

The rate at which carbohydrate-containing foods are digested varies greatly. Carbohydrate containing foods that are digested slowly and therefore provide a longer lasting release of energy are those with a low glycaemic index or GI.A great deal of misleading information exists about carbohydrate. Many fad diets suggest carbohydrate-containing foods be eliminated in order to lose weight. This is far from the truth.

There is strong evidence that a diet high in whole grains is associated with lower body mass index, smaller waist circumference, and reduced risk of overweight. Research shows that significant weight loss is achievable with energy-controlled diets that are high in cereals and legumes.

Carbohydrate-containing foods are generally low in saturatedĀ fat, low in energy (kilojoules) and high in fibre, and are an important inclusionĀ in any weight-loss plan.

Carbohydrate foods like breads and cereals are also fuel to the probiotic (helpful) bacteria in our gut and are essential for a healthy digestive tract.

For good health, eat a variety of low GI, high fibre carbohydrate-containing foods each day. Examples include:

  • Fresh, canned or dried fruit
  • Rice, bread, quinoa and pasta (preferably brown/whole grain varieties)
  • Low fat milk and yoghurt
  • Whole grain breakfast cereals
  • Legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils
An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can provide expert advice on the best type and amount of carbohydrate to be included in your diet.