Nutrition 101: Here’s What You Need to Know About Carbohydrates

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Don’t be confused by carbs
Nutrition 101: Here’s What You Need to Know About Carbohydrates
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Know your carbs — not all carbs are created equal.

When it comes to healthy eating, it can be tough to know what to do sometimes — a food that’s on the do-not-eat list one day can become a healthy-eating must overnight. Carbohydrates are a perfect example; once regarded as a total diet-bomb, we now know that carbs are an important source of energy for the body — you just need to know which carbs are best.

According to Elle Penner, MPH, RD, and food & nutrition editor at MyFitnessPal, “When it comes to carbohydrates, it's important to remember that not all carbs are created equal. Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for the body. Our brains, red blood cells, and central nervous systems actually depend on carbs to keep them running, and they're the muscles' preferred energy source during exercise.” 

Luckily, separating the good from the bad isn’t too difficult; in general, complex carbohydrates (carbohydrates that require more work for the body to break down and provide you with more energy) like those from whole-wheat breads and pastas, barley, bulgur, and legumes are better choices than the simple carbohydrates that come from refined sources like white breads, snack cakes, or sugary foods and drinks.

Looking to learn more about carbohydrates? MyFitnessPal, the world's leading health and fitness app with a community of over 65 million members worldwide, has a rounded up a few key pieces of information.

For more from MyFitnessPal, visit their blog. Or, click here for more on healthy eating.

Elle Penner MPH, RD, is a registered dietician and food & nutrition editor at MyFitnessPal, the world's leading health and fitness app with a community of over 65 million members worldwide. Elle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Boston College and a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of the California Dietetics Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Elle resides in San Francisco with her husband, where she's an active runner, food-lover, and healthy lifestyle blogger.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

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