Carbohydrates (also known as “saccharides”) are simple organic compounds that represent one of the most bounteous of 4 major classes of biomolecules used for the storage and transportation of energy. Carbohydrates also serve other roles in living organism such as transporting structural components, aiding the immune system, blood clotting and physical growth.

There are many foods which are high in carbohydrates, including cereals, rice, bread, pastas, potatoes and many others. Carbohydrates are nutrients that can be synthesized by the body and are therefore not essential for normal body function in humans. Not all carbohydrates can be used as fuel by humans and some require the assistance of gut bacteria to be broken down.

Carbohydrates have two classifications: 1) simple 2) complex. Simple carbohydrates are typically found in foods like candy and sugary drinks. Simple carbohydrates can also be found in fruits, the distinction however, is that fruits are rich in nutrients. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as whole grains and vegetables. While the recommended consumption amount of carbohydrates for the use of energy vary by institution (40% – 65% by the Institute of Medecine and 55% – 70% by the Food and Agriculture Organization) they tend to recommend that 10% or less come from simple carbohydrates.