Health and Human Development - Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates include the monosaccharides and disaccharides (sugars) and
the polysaccharides (starches and complex carbohydrates, including dietary
Glucose from starches and sugars is the main source of energy for body
cells and is more efficiently used than the energy available from fat and
protein. Glucose is the energy source required by the central nervous
system. Carbohydrates have a protein sparing effect, allowing protein to be
used for tissue growth. Dietary fibre is important in maintaining the
health of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Because carbohydrates are the most basic of our food requirements,
deficiencies are seen only in cases of starvation.
Excess intake is more common. The carbohydrates are changed to fat,
leading to an increase in body fat, excess weight and obesity. Constantly
high intakes of sugar may lead to dental caries.
The cereal grains (wheat, rice, corn and oats) are used to make bread and
breakfast cereals, pasta and rice dishes. Vegetables, especially root
vegetables such as potatoes, are a good source of starch. Sugars are found
naturally in fruits.
View the video to discover the benefits of including wholegrain breads and
cereals in the diet.
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