Topic 3 Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibers

Carbohydrates are a main source of calories to our bodies!

  • They can provide energy to our:
    • Heart
    • Nervous system, including brain
    • Muscles
    • All other organs

Where can someone find carbohydrates?

  • In starchy foods such as bread, pasty, rice, potatoes
  • Dairy
  • Fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables (in lower quantities)
Simple Carbohydrates
  • Simple carbohydrates are formed of one or two basic sugars
  • Simple carbohydrates can be broken down very easily and are quickly absorbed which leads to an almost immediate source of energy in the bloodstream


Simple Sugars: Monosaccharides vs. Disaccharides


  • Glucose is the primary bloodstream and bodily energy sugar
  • Glucose levels are regulated by insulin (a hormone)
    • People with disturbed regulation of glucose suffer from diabetes and may experience abnormal sugar levels in the bloodstream
  • Glucose is part of normal health and functioning
  • However, too much glucose can be unhealthy.
Lactose and Lactose Intolerance
  • Lactose intolerance, a common condition, can cause bloating, nausea, abdominal pain after the consumption of lactose products
  • Lactose content decreases throughout the fermentation process
    • Therefore, hard cheeses and yogurt have lower lactose content than soft cheese and milk, for example.


Complex Carbohydrates/Polysaccharides
  • Complex carbohydrates are composed of long chains of sugars
  • The body has to break them down in order to absorb the sugar/glucose and therefore the absorption process is slower
  • Our body can also store sugar as long-chain complex carbohydrates. called glycogen.
  • In plants, carbohydrates are stored as starch






  • Fiber is found in plants
  • Because most fibers are indigestible, meaning they can not be absorbed in our gut, when it reaches the large intestine, it acts as food for the bacteria living in the large intestine
  • Fiber is categorized into soluble and insoluble categories
Main differences between fibers

Sources of Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Which Foods Have The Most Nutrients?


Each macronutrient is different!