Naturally, no diet is complete without other macronutrients, such as proteins or fats; head to our macro calculator for a more comprehensive analysis of your eating habits.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, just like proteins or fats, are macronutrients. They come in many different forms, such as sugars, starches, or fibers, and are present in most of our foods. You can come across them in bread, potatoes, and pasta, but also in fruits, milk, or cookies.
One of the possibilities to group carbohydrates is to split them into simple and complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides and disaccharides. As their chemical structure is fairly uncomplicated, they are easy to digest. They provide a lot of energy, but you will soon feel hungry again. Some sources of simple carbohydrates include white bread, cookies, and white sugar.
Complex carbohydrates are polysaccharides - more complicated chains of sugar molecules. They are considered healthier and tend to fill you up for longer. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain a lot of complex carbohydrates.
How many carbs should I eat a day?
No golden rule dictates how many carbs per day you should eat. However, our carb calculator can provide you with some general guidelines that you can use.
The minimum recommended percentage of carbohydrates in your diet is 50%. It means that at least half of your energy should come from carbohydrates.
The maximum recommended percentage is 70%. If you eat more carbs, you probably lack other macronutrients, such as proteins.
These percentages apply to calories. If you want to recalculate the recommended number of kcal in carbs to grams, you should use the following equation:
4 kcal = 1 g
Our carb calculator uses this exact formula to give you the optimum range for carbohydrate consumption. You should remember, though, that consulting this calculator is not equivalent to a visit at a dietitian; consult a professional for a personalized diet plan if considering any drastic changes to your diet.
Below are some of the key characteristics of good and bad carbs:
- contain a low or moderate number of calories
- are high in nutrients
- do not contain refined sugars or grains
- are high in natural fibers
- are low in sodium and saturated fats
- are low in, or do not contain, cholesterol and trans fats
Essentially are the opposite of good carbs and:
- are high in calories
- are low in many nutrients
- are full of refined sugars (ex. corn syrup, white sugar, honey, fruit juices)
- are low in fiber
- are high in sodium and may contain high levels of saturated fat
- may be high in cholesterol and trans fats
- are high in refined grains (ex. white flour)
Even though it is quite important to keep your carbs intake between 50% and 70%, it is essential to limit the simple sugars (or simple carbs). We recommend to never exceed 10% of your total calorie intake.
Why are these carbs bad for you? Most of them have a high glycemic index (GI). It means that they break up faster and rapidly enter your blood system, increasing blood sugar levels. If you don't limit the intake of such carbs for a long time, it may even lead to diabetes!