by Cesca Janece Waterfield
Carbohydrates are starches that our bodies turn into sugar when digested. They’re found in an array of foods including rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, dairy products and other starchy vegetables.
Carbohydrates can be divided into two categories: monosaccharides and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides, or simple carbohydrates, are often treated as less-than-healthy. Polysaccharides, or complex carbohydrates, include everything made of three or more linked sugars and at one time were considered the healthier of the two. Today we know that the real story is more complex.
The digestive system takes most digestible carbohydrates and breaks them down into glucose, which cells use for energy. While some popular diets would have you believe that all carbohydrates are unhealthy, that’s a misleading oversimplification. In fact, eating whole grains may help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer and may deter atherosclerosis, the build up of cholesterol.