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What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates

Say: kar-bo-HI-drates

Like proteins and fats, carbohydrates are one of the three main nutrients in food. Carbohydrates (carbs) are the body's major source of energy. The two main types of carbs are:

  • sugars, like the kinds in milk, fruit, table sugar, and candy
  • starches, found in grains, breads, crackers, and pasta

The body breaks down carbs into the sugar glucose, which the body's cells need. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, which makes the sugar level in the blood go up. As the sugar level rises in the body, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin helps move glucose from the blood into the cells, where it can be used as a source of energy.