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Though there are many benefits of carbohydrates, you need to make sure you’re eating them in moderation. A carbohydrate-intensive diet can cause high blood sugar and unwanted weight gain. But it’s important that you eat an appropriate amount of healthy carbohydrates in order to meet your body’s nutritional needs and maintain a healthy weight.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients — along with proteins and fats — that your body requires daily. There are three main types of carbohydrates: starches, fiber and sugars. Starches are often referred to as complex carbohydrates. They are found in grains, legumes and starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn. Sugars are known as simple carbohydrates. There are natural sugars in vegetables, fruits, milk and honey. Added sugars are found in processed foods, syrups, sugary drinks and sweets.

Why do you need carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy: They help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. For instance, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check. Your body can store extra carbohydrates in your muscles and liver for use when you’re not getting enough carbohydrates in your diet. A carbohydrate-deficient diet may cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

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