What’s a carb?

What’s a carbohydrate? 

A carb is a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages. Some carbs occur naturally in plant-based foods and others are added to processed foods.

Classification of Carbs

You can classify carbs and many different ways. You can classify them subjectively say there are good carbs versus bad carbs. Or, you can classify them objectively via the glycemic index, for example. 

Three Main Carbs

There are three types of carbs that come up in everyday conversation:

The first type is just sugar. These are the monosaccharides. They are the simplest form of carbs. So think fruit sugar — that’s fructose. You have sucrose– table sugar– or even glucose and that is the form of carbohydrates that all carbs are eventually broken down into or converted to within the human body. 

The second type is starch. This is a complex carb or a polysaccharide which is essentially many sugar units chain together. These take longer to break down in the body, so think things like vegetables grains or beans.

The third type is fiber. This is also a complex carbohydrate and also a polysaccharide. But, its structure is different from starch and it makes it indigestible to humans, which gives fiber that unique quality and that unique ability for some people to make you go regularly. 


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