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Dietitian Tips - Supplement Suggestions Date Added: 03-08-2023

The best sources of carbohydrates in the diet

Carbohydrates are a key component of our diet. They provide us with the energy we need to carry out our daily activities. However, it is worth remembering that not all carbohydrates are of equal value. Despite the fact that carbohydrates are dietary components that are essential for guaranteeing ourselves a quality workout, we must know that consuming them can have side effects. Which products are rich in this ingredient? How do we incorporate them into the diet properly? Are there carbohydrates at all? We write about all this below!

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of the three essential nutrients, along with proteins and fats. They are the main source of energy for our body. Carbohydrates are products that consist of two types of substances. They can be divided into:
  • Simple carbohydrates - these are sugars that are easily absorbed and provide the body with energy at a faster rate. They are found in sweets, sugar, honey and highly processed foods.
  • Complex carbohydrates - are made up of longer chains of sugars and are consumed together with fibre. This type of carbohydrate provides a longer feeling of satiety and a slow release of energy.

Which should be on our menu? Both, as each is a different form of energy provider.

What is the role of carbohydrates in the diet?

Carbohydrates play a key role in our diet, being the main source of energy for our bodies. The glucose released during digestion is used by our cells to produce energy, which is essential for everything from breathing to intense exercise. Carbohydrates are also important for the proper functioning of our brain, which uses glucose as its main fuel. In addition, complex carbohydrates, such as those found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, provide fibre, which is crucial for a healthy digestive system. However, excess carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, can lead to weight gain and other health problems, so it is important to exercise moderation and focus on the quality and not just the quantity of carbohydrates consumed. A proper understanding of the role of carbohydrates in the diet allows you to create healthy and balanced eating plans.

Is a low-carbohydrate diet healthy?

Although low-carbohydrate diets have become popular over the past few years, remember that carbohydrates are still essential for health and well-being. Depending on age, gender, body weight and activity level, it is recommended to consume between 130 and 300 grams of carbohydrates per day. In addition to fat reduction, we should be aware that people who try to remove them from their diet completely - are making a mistake. This is because a carb deficit is not always healthy for our bodies, as the above substances contribute to maintaining adequate blood glucose levels. It is glucose that is the body's fuel.

Complex carbohydrates - what are they?

Complex carbohydrates are one of the best sources of energy for our body. They contain a lot of nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Below are some products rich in complex carbohydrates:
  • Whole-grain cereal products: wholemeal bread, whole-grain pasta, millet groats, oatmeal, brown rice.
  • Vegetables: potatoes, yams, carrots, broccoli, spinach, courgettes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower.
  • Legumes: peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, broad beans.
  • Fruits - such as apples, pears, peaches, bananas and berries - are not only a source of complex carbohydrates, but also vitamins and antioxidants that are important for health. Fruits should be part of a healthy diet, but moderation is important to remember, due to their fructose content.
  • Nuts and seeds - such as almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, flaxseeds and chia, are rich in complex carbohydrates, but also protein and fats. They are an excellent source of energy and valuable nutrients.

Complex carbohydrates are a great source of energy because they are absorbed by our body in a gradual manner. Therefore, they give us a long-lasting feeling of satiety and stable blood sugar levels, which contributes to maintaining energy for a long time.


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Simple carbohydrates - which products are these?

The vast majority of foods contain carbohydrates in varying amounts. However, not everyone knows that carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are simple sugars (monosaccharides) or disaccharides (disaccharides) that are quickly digested and absorbed in the body, resulting in a rapid release of energy. Below are examples of products rich in simple carbohydrates:
  • Sugar and sweets,
  • Sweetened drinks,
  • Pieces of fruit,
  • Milk and sweetened yoghurts,
  • White bread, rolls, cakes, pastries,
  • Fast food, snacks such as crisps, popcorn, crackers, finger foods,
  • Fruit: bananas, apples, pears, grapes,
  • Honey.

Very often, eating too many simple carbohydrates can contribute to overweight, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, it is a good idea to limit the amount of them in your diet and replace them with healthier sources of energy. It is okay to indulge in sweets and the consumption of simple sugars from time to time. However, try to limit this form of cheat day.

Potatoes and other tubers as sources of carbohydrates

Potatoes and other tubers, such as yams (sweet potatoes) and cassava, are important sources of carbohydrates in our diet. They are full of starch, which is a complex carbohydrate and provides the body with long-lasting energy. Potatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients in cooking, used worldwide in a variety of dishes. As well as providing carbohydrates, potatoes are also a source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre, especially when eaten with the skin on. Similarly, yams and cassava are important sources of carbohydrates, especially in the diets of people from different parts of the world, such as South America, Africa and Asia. Yams are also a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre. All of these tubers can be prepared in many ways - boiled, baked, fried or used as an ingredient in soups and stews. However, moderation is key - although they are a healthy source of carbohydrates, excessive consumption can lead to weight gain, especially when eaten in the form of chips or fries.

Complex carbohydrates - why are they better than simple ones?

Complex carbohydrates, also known as complex carbohydrates, are the best sources of carbohydrates in the diet. They are absorbed more slowly by the body and contribute to maintaining a feeling of satiety for longer. This effect is extremely beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. In addition, complex carbohydrates have a lower glycaemic index, meaning they are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. High blood sugar levels can result in an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. They are also good sources of fibre, which is beneficial for proper digestion. In addition, complex carbohydrates help to guarantee stable energy levels, providing the body with constant access to fuel. Simple carbohydrates only provide energy for a short period of time for our bodies. It is also worth noting that complex carbohydrates are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are beneficial to health. Consuming complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates is also beneficial for oral health, as simple carbohydrates can lead to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.


Legume seeds - a rich source of carbohydrates

One of the best sources of complex carbohydrates are pulses. Group B legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans not only provide the body with carbohydrates, but also protein and many valuable minerals and vitamins. Legume seeds are also an excellent source of fibre, which benefits the digestive system and helps to keep you feeling satiated for longer. They are also low in fat, making them an ideal dietary ingredient for those watching their weight. Look out for a variety of pulses - each has a slightly different nutrient profile and nutritional value. For example, chickpeas are rich in protein, green beans provide B vitamins and iron, and lentils have plenty of fibre and potassium. For maximum health benefits, pulses are best eaten cooked or stewed, as part of a varied and balanced diet. They can be added to salads, soups, pastes or sauces.

Examples of pulses:

  • Chickpeas
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Blue beans
  • Nuts and seeds as a source of healthy carbohydrates
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Nuts and seeds, are often associated mainly with protein and healthy fats. However, let's not forget that they are also an important source of carbohydrates. Most often you will find complex carbohydrates in these products, which means that they release energy slowly and help to keep blood sugar levels steady. This is crucial for maintaining health and a healthy body weight. Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts contain healthy amounts of carbohydrates while also providing protein, healthy fats and a variety of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and B vitamins. They are a great addition to healthy snacks or salads. Seeds, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds or sesame seeds, also contain carbohydrates. They are rich in fibre, which helps regulate digestion, and also provide plenty of healthy fats, protein and minerals. Although nuts and seeds are a rich source of many nutrients, they also contain a lot of calories, so it is worth eating them in moderation. However, they do have a high satiety index, which means they help you feel full for longer, which can help you control your appetite and maintain a healthy weight.

How do you incorporate carbohydrates into your diet?

Introducing carbohydrates into your diet can be easy if you know how to do it. Here are some practical tips to help you incorporate carbohydrates into your menu:

Start by choosing the right sources of carbohydrates. Opt for whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products.

Remember to exercise moderation. There is no need to exclude carbohydrates completely from your diet, but they should be consumed in moderation. For the average adult, it is recommended to consume around 130 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Plan meals in advance. Preparing healthy meals with the right amount of carbohydrates for the day or week can help you maintain a healthy diet.

Choose carbohydrate-rich snacks. Fruit, oatmeal, nuts and low-fat dairy products are excellent snack options.

Remember that introducing carbohydrates into your diet can help you maintain stable energy levels and well-being. However, this is an individual process and requires time and patience. Start with small steps and gradually increase the amount of carbohydrates in your diet until you reach the recommended daily portion.

Carbohydrates and weight loss - how does it work?

Many people think that carbohydrates in the diet should be excluded to lose weight. However, this is not true. Carbohydrates are one of the three main nutrients and eliminating them can lead to a lack of energy and a worsened mood. The correct intake of carbohydrates can help you lose weight as they keep blood sugar levels steady, avoiding excessive bouts of hunger and cravings. Complex carbohydrates are a particularly good option for people who want to lose weight. They are rich in fibre, which not only helps to maintain a feeling of satiety, but also influences the regularity of digestion. However, attention should be paid to the amount of carbohydrates consumed. Consuming them in excessive quantities can lead to weight gain. It is important to choose sources consisting of complex carbohydrates as often as possible. Do this wisely and consume them in moderate amounts.


Carbohydrates are essential for our health and serve as the main source of energy for the body. The right choice of carbohydrate sources and moderate consumption is key to maintaining stable blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of metabolic diseases. As we have already mentioned - including both complex and simple carbohydrates in the diet helps to meet the body's energy and nutrient needs.


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Patryk Chodyniecki
Patryk Chodyniecki
A passionate bodybuilding, swimming, and martial arts enthusiast. He has been practicing strength sports for over 10 years, alternating between boxing, MMA, and swimming, which he enjoys combining. He is also interested in the broad field of supplementation and nutrition, which he gradually implements into his training.

Bibliography: - Carbohydrates - Healthy carbs - Foods high in carbs
A passionate bodybuilding, swimming, and martial arts enthusiast. He has been practicing strength sports for over 10 years, alternating between boxing, MMA, and swimming, which he enjoys combining. He is also interested in the broad field of supplementation and nutrition, which he gradually implements into his training.

Bibliography: - Carbohydrates - Healthy carbs - Foods high in carbs

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