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Home > Health Archive > Carbohydrates, Sugars & Fibers

Carbohydrates, Sugars & Fibers

Carbohydrates, Sugars & Fibers



If bread is the staff of life, carbohydrates are the stuff of a healthy lifestyle. Carbohydrate-rich foods - breads, cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes - are the very foundation of good nutrition and the Food Guide Pyramid.

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods...

  • Give you energy - They have starches and sugar!
  • Can aid in proper digestion - Go for fiber-rich food choices each day!
  • Provide many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, several B-vitamins (including folic acid), vitamin C, iron and potassium - Your body can't live without them!
  • Help you manage the amount of fat and calories in your overall diet because they tend to be low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol - Everyone's interested in that!
Carbohydrates are... They're found in...
Starches (complex carbohydrates) Cereal, potatoes, pasta, macaroni, rice, bread
Dietary Fiber Whole grain cereals and breads, dried beans and peas, fruits and vegetables
Sugars (simple carbohydrates) Fruit juices, fruits, milk, sweetened cereals and baked goods, jam and syrup

Building a Carbohydrate-Rich Diet

Choose foods every day from the bottom half of the Food Guide Pyramid:

  • 6 to 11 servings from the Grains Group
  • At least 5 servings from the Vegetable and Fruit Groups

It's easy to build a carbohydrate-rich diet when you select a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.

Grains Group Choose 6 to 11 servings
1 bagel is equal to 2 servings
4 whole grain crackers are equal to 1 serving
1 cup spaghetti is equal to 2 servings
3/4 cup bran flake cereal is equal to 1 serving
Total 6 servings


Vegetable and Fruit Groups Choose at least 5 servings
3/4 cup fruit juice is equal to 1 serving
1 cup tossed salad is equal to 1 serving
1 cup vegetable soup with beans is equal to 2 servings
1 apple is equal to 1 serving
Total 5 servings

Round out your diet with carbohydrate-rich foods from other sections of the Food Guide Pyramid.

| Food Guide Pyramid |

  • Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group provides carbohydrates with much-needed calcium.
  • Protein Group provides carbohydrates from dry beans and peas like lentils, black beans, kidney beans and chick peas which are high in dietary fiber and a hard-to-get nutrient, iron.
  • Tip of the Pyramid provides simple carbohydrates from sugar, honey and other simple carbohydrate sweeteners which help foods taste good and provide energy.


Questions & Answers about Sugar

Q: When is the best time to consume carbohydrates when working out?
A: Both before and after a vigorous work-out. A diet consistently rich in carbohydrates helps ensure that enough fuel can be supplied to working muscles. But it is just as important to consume carbohydrates after a heavy work-out. One great way to replenish both carbohydrates and fluids is to drink a carbohydrate-containing beverage such as CAPRI SUN with a meal or a snack.

Q: Aren't sugars linked to health conditions such as hyperactivity, diabetes and heart disease?
A: The good news is that many years of research have shown that sugars alone do not result in any of these conditions.

Q: Don't sugars cause tooth decay?
A: Although sugars and starches can play a role in tooth decay, good dental hygiene is the best way to help prevent cavities. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly after meals and snacks.

Learn About Label Terms for Sugars and Dietary Fiber

Here's what food product labels tell you about sugar and fiber:

Sugar Free Less than 0.5 grams sugar per serving.
No Added Sugar No sugars (or any other sugar-containing ingredients) are added during processing or packaging. The product might not be reduced calorie, low calorie or sugar free; check the label.
Good Source/Provides/Contains Fiber At least 10% of the daily value for fiber per serving (at least 2.5 grams but less than 5 grams of fiber).
High/Rich/Excellent Source of Fiber 20% or more of the daily value for fiber per serving (5 grams or more of fiber).



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