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Nutrients are essential to good health; humans must consume a variety of nutrients daily to maintain a healthy diet. Banker (2009) informs, “various nutrients are essential to build up and maintain cell tissues, glands, and organs in the human body.” (para. 2). Carbohydrates are made in many forms; they provide the human body with energy. Carpi (2003) agrees, “Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the human body.” (para. 2). Food and some plants are sources of carbohydrates; The Food Pyramid Guide Website suggests humans should include carbohydrates in his or her daily diet as a dietary supplement.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are mostly made up of sugar molecules; these molecules are broken down within the human body through a chemical process. Vigil (2007) reports, “The word carbohydrate comes from a combination of naturally occurring compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.” (para. 1). Carbohydrates ensure that each part of the human body receives the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. Carbohydrates are broken down into two categories; simple and complex.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are not as effective as complex carbohydrates; these particular types do little to provide the body with an adequate amount of nutrients. Simple carbohydrates have a substantial amount of sugar and are often found in junk foods and soft drinks. Choosing to eat foods rich in simple carbohydrates can cause major health problems. Humans should not over-consume foods with high sugar levels. Manzella (2006) informs, “Carbohydrates are divided into two types, simple and complex.” “The classification is based on the chemical structure and reflects how quickly sugar is digested and absorbed.” (para. 1). Monosaccharides consist of one sugar unit which has an important function within the bloodstream; the bloodstream ensures that nutrients are distributed throughout the digestive system properly. Disaccharides consist of two sugar molecules; since simple carbohydrates are unlikely to lead to good health, humans should consume more complex carbohydrates.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates contain nutrients such as minerals and vitamins; such nutrients are essential to good health as well. Whole grains and fruits contain carbohydrates which help to strengthen humans physically. Carpi (2003) reports, “Complex carbohydrates are polymers of the simple sugars.” “In other words, the complex carbohydrates are long chains of simple sugar units bonded together (for this reason [sic] the complex carbohydrates are often referred to as polysaccharides).” (para. 7). Complex carbohydrates provide the most nutrients to the human body. Therefore, these carbohydrates provide the best sources of energy.

The Chemical Process of Sugar in the Human Body

Sugars are broken down in the body by enzymes; enzymes break down sugars so that they may be easily generated to other parts of the body. An individual’s metabolism depends upon how well sugars are broken down within their digestive system. Carpi (2003) agrees, “Animals (including humans) break down carbohydrates during the process of metabolism to release energy.” (para. 2). Body fat and other cells within the body stores energy from carbohydrates; these components ensure energy has a continual flow through the body. Therefore, sugars serve an important purpose in the digestive process.

The Health Benefits of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important factors in leading a healthy lifestyle; carbohydrates enable humans to engage in all types of physical activities. Carbohydrates help our digestive system to absorb and digest foods too. Carbohydrates assist foods with the digestion process; they enable food to enter its proper dwelling place within the human body. Carbohydrates allow humans to consume the proper amount of calories per day; maintaining a healthy weight is essential to good health for children and adults. Foods that contain carbohydrates nourish the body with calcium, and vitamins A, C, and D; consuming such nutrients are very important aspects of one’s personal diet. Overall, carbohydrates fuel the human body with a substantial amount of energy from day to day.

Food Sources of Carbohydrates

Finding the proper foods to eat can be a challenge. Many foods do not provide adequate amounts of nutrients; humans should choose foods that are rich in nutrients. Some foods that contain carbohydrates are as follows: cereal, wheat bread, rice, and pasta are sources of carbohydrates. Fruits such as pears contain glucose and fructose; both are responsible for providing the human body with energy. Vegetables such as broccoli and potatoes are excellent sources of carbohydrates. Vegetables are considered as complex carbohydrates; they provide the human body with most if its energy. When shopping for foods, choose fresh fruits and vegetables rather than junk foods. Choosing to eat healthier foods is never a waste; a person’s life depends upon how well he or she takes care of his or her body.

A Common Disorder Related to Carbohydrates

A common disorder related to carbohydrates is lactose intolerance. People who suffer from lactose intolerance do not digest sugar properly; if sugars are not broken down properly, this disorder prohibits sugars from being evenly spread throughout the blood stream. According to Medicine Net. Com, lactose intolerance is defined as “Inability to digest lactose, a component of milk and most other dairy products.” (para. 1). Two common problems associated with lactose intolerance are gas and bloating; these problems occur when the human body does not contain an adequate amount of lactase. Lactates are responsible for breaking down units of sugars within the bloodstream. The Foundation for Better Healthcare (2006) explains, “Lactase breaks down milk sugar into simpler forms that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.” “When there is not enough lactase to digest the amount of lactose consumed, the results, although not usually dangerous, may be very distressing.” (para. 1).

Ways to Alleviate Lactose Intolerance

Even though lactose intolerance may cause discomfort, an individual can ease his or her symptoms by staying away from dairy products. Consuming alternate dietary supplements are also ways to alleviate common lactose intolerance problems. Vitamins are good dietary sources of calcium and vitamins A and B; people who cannot tolerate dairy products can use these supplements as excellent sources of nutrients. Instead of drinking whole milk, a person may want to try drinking soy milk; opting for this type of milk may ease tensions of gas and bloating. More severe problems regarding lactose intolerance should be addressed by visiting a family doctor or specialist. Taking the time to adapt to healthier eating habits can make all the difference when dealing with this particular disorder.


Carbohydrates are valuable sources of nutrients; they play an important role in the human body. Carbohydrates are the human body’s main supply of energy; they allow the body to absorb energy from plants and foods. Analyzing which carbohydrates to consume on a daily basis could prove to have advantages for years to come. An individual should consider the amount of nutrients he or she needs to maintain good health; adequate amounts of carbohydrates are needed in one’s daily diet to obtain and preserve all the energy that comes from consuming carbohydrates.


Banker, M. (2009). Nutrition and its Importance to Human Health. Retrieved

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Foundation for Better Healthcare (2006). Lactose Intolerance. Retrieved

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Manzella, D. (2006). What’s the Difference Between Simple and Complex

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Medicine.Net.Com (n.d.) Definition of Lactose Intolerance. Retrieved

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Vigil, G. (2007). What are Carbohydrates? Retrieved October 10, 2009 from