3 Forms of Carbohydrate Rich Food: Know the Sources of Energy 3 Forms of Carbohydrate Rich Food: Know the Sources of Energy Skip to main content

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3 Forms of Carbohydrate Rich Food: Know the Sources of Energy

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Sources of carbohydrate (energy sources) rich food: Sugars, pulses, nuts, cereal, vegetables, milk products, maize, oil seeds, potatoes
Prime sources of carbohydrate nutrition: Sugars, pulses, nuts, cereal, vegetables, milk products, maize, oil seeds, potatoes

Do you often feel the lack of energy in your working hours or during study classes? If getting lethargic and feeling sluggish have become a part of your day-to-day life, it is high time to check your dietary constituents. Take it as an alarm to ensure that your diet involves sufficient sources of carbohydrate or not. This is one of those nutrition articles that will give you a complete guide and knowledge on carbohydrate food list through examples of various types of carbohydrate rich foods.


It is tough to give definition or meaning of carbohydrate nutrient yet we can describe it through its classification and functions. Among all the constituents of food: macronutrients and micronutrients, carbohydrate is the prime source of energy. Normally a person intakes 4-6 gm to 4-6 kg of carbohydrates in a day, where 1 gm of simple carbohydrate yields 3.87 calories of energy and complex carbohydrate, 3.57 to 4.12 calories of energy.

Mechanism or Function of Carbohydrate

The key function of carbohydrate is to provide fuel or energy to the body, especially the nervous system and the brain. During its course of action, the amylase enzyme helps in breaking it down into blood sugar or glucose, which further is utilized by the body as energy.

Carbohydrate in Daily Diet

We take it in three forms: sugar, starch, and fibre.

Carbohydrate in Biochemistry

Also termed as saccharide, carbohydrates are classified in two types:

Simple Carbohydrates
Complex Carbohydrates

  • In biochemistry, they can be classifies in four chemical groups:

Monosaccharide (Simple Sugar)
Disaccharide (Double Sugar and Complex Sugar)
Polysaccharide (Starch)
Oligosaccharide (Fiber)

  • Monosaccharide and disaccharide come in simple carbohydrate's family.
  • Polysaccharide and Oligosaccharide come in complex carbohydrate's family.

Types of Carbohydrate

Simple carbohydrate complex carbohydrate

Simple Carbohydrate: Sugars

Found in two forms and sweet in taste, sugars are essential part of human diet. Formed of just one or two molecules of sugar, simple carbohydrates are digested and absorbed rapidly.

Sources of Simple Carbohydrate

Simple Carbohydrate or Sugars: Sugarcane, white sugar, brown sugar, white sugars cubes
Simple Carbohydrate: Various types of Sugars

Table sugar, brown sugar, honey, fruit drinks, soft drinks, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, jams, jellies, and candy

Natural Sources: Vegetables and Milk Products
Natural Sources of carbohydrates: Vegetables, fruits and milk products
Natural Carbohydrate rich sources: Vegetables, fruits and milk products

Milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables

Refined or Processed Sources
Refined or Processed Sources of carbohydrate: Sugars, syrups, candies, carbonated drinks
carbohydrate sources: Sugars, syrups, candies, carbonated drinks

Table sugar, syrups, candy, carbonated beverages (for example: soda)


The proper or ample carbohydrate containing sources are the natural ones. Other refined, synthesized, or processed sources may give you empty calories, resulting in weight gain. So, it is suggested to intake the natural sources of carbohydrate, instead of artificial.

Types of Simple Carbohydrate or Sugars

Simple carbohydrates are basically sugars: simple sugar (monosaccharide), double sugar (disaccharide) and complex sugar.

Simple Sugar: Monosaccharide

This form of sugar does not pose any digestive strain and without need of digestion, it gets absorbed directly. Glucose, fructose, and galactose come in simple sugar’s family. These are the basic unit of carbohydrates and simplest form of sugar. They are colorless, crystalline solids, and with water soluble properties.

Sources of Simple Sugars:

  • Fructose (fruits)
  • Galactose (milk products)

Double Sugar: Disaccharides or Biose 

These are formed by reaction of two monosaccharides.

Sources of Double Sugars:

  • Lactose (dairy products and milk sugar)
  • Maltose (vegetables and beer)
  • Sucrose (beet sugar or saccharose, table sugar, and cane sugar)
  • Honey (As honey contains minerals and vitamins too, it is suggested to avoid giving it to kids younger than a year)

Complex Sugar

For getting absorbed, this form of sugar needs to pose digestive strain. After digestion, it takes the form of simple sugar and then gets absorbed.

Commonly Used Sources of Sugars

Commonly consumed sugars are: white sugar or cane sugar, fruits, honey, jaggery.

Complex Carbohydrate: Fiber and Starch

When sugar molecules strung like necklace or get branched like a coil, they come in the family of complex carbohydrate.

Sources of Complex Carbohydrate

  • Whole plant foods, green vegetables, 
  • Whole grains, food made of whole grains: oatmeal, whole-grain bread, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables: pumpkin, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes 
  • Beans, peas, lentils

Types of Complex Carbohydrate

Complex carbohydrates are basically starch (Polysaccharide) and fiber (Oligosaccharide).

Starch: Polysaccharides

Starch Polysaccharides as Carbohydrate sources: pulses, nuts, cereal, maize, oil seeds, potatoes
Carbohydrate sources: Pulses, nuts, cereal, maize, oil seeds, potatoes

Starch needs to undergo digestive strain, and after taking the simpler form, it gets ready to get absorbed.

Sources of Starch

  • Cereals: Wheat, Rice, Jowar, Bajra, Corn, Ragi

Amount of starch: 65 to 80%

  • Grains and pulses

Amount of starch: 30 to 40%

  • Nuts and oil seeds

Amount of starch: 10 to 20%

  • Starchy vegetables: Roots and tubers

Amount of starch: 20 to 40%

  • Other: Potato and maize

Fiber: Oligosaccharides or Oligos

Fiber rich vegetables as carbohydrate rich food: Leaks, soybeans, jerusalem, chicory, onions, asparagus, artichoke, burdock
carbohydrate Sources - Fiber rich food: Leaks, soybeans, jerusalem, chicory, onions, asparagus, artichoke, burdock
  • Fibers are complex carbohydrates and pure constituent of plant food. They are non energy provider and non starchy in characteristics.
  • These are saccharide polymers that are formed by reaction of about 3 to 9 monosaccharides (simple sugars).
  • These are also nutritionally supplemented in tablets, capsules, and as power.

Major Sources of Fiber: Fruits, plants, and vegetables
Natural Sources of Fiber: burdock, chicory, artichoke, Jerusalem, leeks, asparagus, onions, soybeans
Forms of Fiber: Insoluble and soluble

Insoluble form of Fiber

Insoluble fibers promote the normal bowel habits as there bulk forming activity increases the motility. Being the insoluble fiber and cellulose, they also ensure the exposure to toxins. These are unidentified polysaccharides that resistant the starch, and are high in pectin.

Sources of Insoluble Fiber: Whole wheat, Jawar, Millets, Oats, Guar bean

Soluble form of Fiber

Soluble fibers delay the absorption of carbohydrate to regulate the blood sugar level. They prevent from atherosclerosis and cholelithiasis by reducing blood cholesterol and increasing cholesterol excretion.

Sources of Soluble Fiber: Mucilages, Carageenan, Rice, Oats, Bran, Beans, fruits and vegetables


Although they do not supply energy to body, yet are significantly important as they prevent from the diseases.

So now you know about carbohydrates, its types, classification, and sources that can give you instant energy or can keep you energized for long. Nature has a lot to give you. Connect with it directly and consume without getting those refined or processed stuff in between.

Eat the fresh and good stuff! Stay energized!

Click to Know More: Nutrients: Vastly Knowledgeable Nutrition Guide
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