A man reported to be a serving soldier has been hacked to death in Woolwich, south east London, in what is be...
Choose a location
Enter your postcode or click the map
Why are we asking this?
You can listen to Smooth Radio across the UK, so we want to provide you with information that best suits your region. You won't need to set your location next time you visit.
Select upto 6 subjects
Fact sheet: carbohydrates
When people talk about getting a good 'balanced diet', they usually mean a mixture of protein, carbohydrate and fresh fruit and vegetables. But why is this so important? This time we're focussing on one of the big three - carbohydrates.
What are they?
In scientific terms, carbohydrate is an organic compound made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The human body uses carbohydrate for energy, breaking it down into glucose to help perform its various functions. Protein and fat can also be used by the body for energy but they are less efficiently processed, therefore most of the fuel you put into your body should be in the form of carbohydrate.
Where are they found?
Carbohydrates exist in many foodstuffs and are generally split into two groups - complex and simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates are found in starchy foods. They occur naturally in foods such as potato, rice and pasta, but are also present in many vegetables, such as parsnips or sweet corn, oats and lentils. Complex carbs are also found in processed foods, such as biscuits, pastries and white bread, but these are less useful as an energy source because the body has to work harder to use them.
Simple carbohydrates are found in sugary foods, either naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables or refined in things like sweets, cake and chocolate. Natural sugar is, of course, better for us than processed.
How much should I eat?
Generally speaking, around half of our daily intake should be carbohydrate-based. People who lead active lifestyles may need to take on more, to provide the extra fuel for all the activity. You may hear of athletes or people planning to do lots of exercise, like running a marathon, 'carb-loading' the day before. This simply means making sure there is enough carbohydrate in their body to provide the energy they will need.
What if I'm on a diet?
This is another reason why being aware of carbohydrates is useful. While the body burns stores of carbohydrate for energy, if there is none there to burn it looks for alternative energy, in the form of fat. So if you're looking to lose weight and slim down a bit, temporarily consuming less carbs than normal should help, as it encourages your body to use your fat stores for energy.
Join the conversation
why not save time filling in forms and let us do it for you...
You're logged in with facebook.
More from Smooth Radio
No longer is the food offering at music festivals limited to cold chips and overcooked sausages
Give yourself the best chance of escaping coughs and colds by adding some flu-fighting foods to your diet
How much do you know about where your food comes from?
Some fun facts about singing legend George Michael. Some you probably know - some you may not...