(RxWiki News) Carbohydrates may get a bad rap, especially in relation to weight gain, but truth is they offer some vital health benefits.
Carbohydrates occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes. There are three types of carbohydrates -- sugar, the simplest form, starch and fiber.
Carbohydrate-laden foods with a high glycemic index, such as potatoes and corn, raise blood-glucose levels and are restricted by many weight-loss plans. (There are healthful benefits to these foods, too, such as a high level of vitamin C, so eliminating them entirely may not be necessary).
Carbohydrates provide energy to the body by acting as the body's main source of fuel. Some carbohydrates, such as whole grains and dietary fiber, also protect against diseases and conditions, including constipation, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, individuals should get between 900 and 1,300 calories a day from carbohydrates, based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.