Carbohydrates for weight control and weight loss

Published At: 02 January 2020 , 10:13 AM

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy in the body. The energy derived from carbohydrates in food is mainly generated from starch and sugars, and also (to a lesser extent) from dietary fiber and sugar alcohols.

The primary sources of carbohydrates are cereals and potatoes. Fruits, fruit juice, berries, and milk also contain sugars (mono- and disaccharides). 

Sweets, sugary drinks, fruit syrups, sweetened confectionery, and flavoured dairy products are the primary sources of added sugars. Added sugars are called sugars added to products during processing or preparation. 

The concepts of "carbohydrate" and "sugar" are not the same thing. Sugar is a conventional everyday concept that is used mainly in relation to sucrose (the so-called table sugar), as well as other water-soluble simple carbohydrates with a sweet taste (mono- and disaccharides, such as glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose).

Carbohydrates should cover 50-60% of the daily need for food energy.

The energy received with added sugar should not exceed 10% of the daily food energy.

A person with a daily energy requirement of 2000 kcal per day should consume: from 0.5 x 2000 kcal / 4 kcal = 250 g to 0.6 x 2000/4 kcal = 300 g of carbohydrates. With a daily energy requirement of 2500 kcal, the recommended daily amount of carbohydrates is 313-375 g, with 3000 kcal - 375-450 g.

Our body, and especially the brain, needs a constant supply of glucose, which ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of its work. With a long-term lack of carbohydrates, the body begins to synthesize glucose from its proteins, which significantly reduces its protective ability with respect to environmental factors.

In terms of nutritional value, carbohydrates are divided into two broad groups:

The first includes carbohydrates, which digested and absorbed, supplying the body cells with mainly glucose, that is, glycemic carbohydrates (starch and sugar).

The second group includes dietary fiber. 

Glucose is the primary "fuel" for most body cells. It deposited in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. Liver glycogen used to maintain normal blood glucose levels between meals; muscle glycogen is the primary source of muscle energy.

In the digestive tract of a person eating starch-rich foods, starch breaks down, resulting in a large amount of glucose. The richest in starch are cereals and potatoes.

They are not digested and sent to the intestine, forming the substrate necessary for its microflora.

Carbohydrates perform many functions in the body:

are the primary source of energy in the body: 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 kcal,

are part of cells and tissues,

determine the blood group,

are part of many hormones

perform a protective function as part of antibodies,

play the role of a reserve substance in the body: glycogen accumulated in the liver and muscles is a temporary supply of glucose, which the body can readily use if necessary,

dietary fiber is essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system.

Basic carbohydrates and their best sources:

Mono- and disaccharides *, i.e. simple carbohydrates, i.e. sugars

Glucose, or grape sugar honey, fruits, berries, juices

Fructose, or fruit sugar fruits, berries, juices, honey

Lactose, or Milk Sugar milk and dairy products

Maltose, or Malt Sugar cereal products

Sucrose, or table sugar sugarcane, sugar beets, table sugar, sugar products, fruits, berries


Maltodextrin It is produced from starch, it is used mainly as a dietary supplement. Also found in beer and bread.

Raffinose bean


Starch potatoes, cereals, rice, pasta

Dietary fiber (cellulose, pectin) cereals, fruits 

* disaccharides in structure belong to oligosaccharides

Alimentary fiber

Dietary fiber is found only in plants, for example, cellulose and pectin are found mainly in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes.

Microorganisms living in the intestines can partially break down dietary fibers, which are food for microbes of the digestive tract, which, in turn, are essential for the defences of the human body.

Alimentary fiber:

Increase the volume of food gruel, thereby causing a feeling of fullness,

accelerate the advancement of food pass through the small intestine,

help prevent constipation and can prevent some forms of cancer, diseases of the cardiovascular system and type II diabetes,

facilitate the removal of cholesterol from the body,

slow down the absorption of glucose, preventing too sharp an increase in blood sugar,

help maintain normal body weight.

Dietary fibers in the body are not absorbed, but, due to partial decomposition in the intestine under the influence of the microflora of the digestive tract, form fatty acids with a short molecular chain and give about 2 kcal / g of energy.

Dietary fiber can be divided into water-soluble and insoluble. Since they perform different functions, you should eat foods containing both types of dietary fiber daily:

Oats, rye, fruits, berries, vegetables and legumes (peas, lentils, beans) are good sources of water-soluble dietary fiber.

Whole-grain foods (rye bread, whole-grain wheat bread, sepic, cereals, whole grain cereals, whole grain rice) are good sources of water-insoluble dietary fiber.

An adult should receive from 25 to 35 g of dietary fiber per day depending on the daily energy requirement (approx. 13 g of dietary fiber per 1000 kcal).  

The recommended daily amount of dietary fiber for a child older than one year is 8–13 g per 1000 kcal of energy consumed. The recommended daily amount for a child can be approximately calculated using the formula "age + 7". Excessive consumption of dietary fiber not recommended, since there is a danger that any mineral substance necessary for the body will be bound in a sparingly soluble compound, and the body will not be able to absorb it.

Recommendations for increasing the consumption of foods rich in starch and dietary fiber:

When choosing a main course, prefer whole-grain pasta or rice and a smaller sauce.

For sausages with boiled potatoes, take more potatoes and fewer sausages.

Add beans and peas to stews, vegetable casseroles or stews. This will increase the content of dietary fiber in the dish. Acting in this way, you can eat less meat, meals become more economical, and the amount of saturated fatty acids consumed also reduced.

Prefer whole grain rye and wheat bread.

Choose whole grain rice: it contains a large amount of dietary fiber.

Eat whole-grain cereal for breakfast or mix it into your favourite cereal.

Porridge - an excellent warming winter breakfast, whole grain oatmeal with fresh fruits, berries and yoghurt - a refreshing summer breakfast.

Eat 3-5 slices of whole-grain rye bread per day.

Eat at least 500 g of fruits and vegetables per day.


Most people strive to consume too much sugar, because they eat a lot of sweets, cakes, pastries and other sugar-rich foods, drink soft drinks and juice. Sugars contained in unprocessed foods, such as fruits and milk, should not be feared. First of all, you should reduce the consumption of food containing added sugar.

Sugar is added to many products, but most of all it contains:

soft drinks and juice drinks: for example, 500 ml of lemonade can hold up to 50 g, i.e. 10-15 teaspoons of sugar,

sweets, sweets, cookies,


Cakes, cakes, buns, puddings,

ice cream.

The main disadvantages of many sugar-rich foods are, on the one hand, the relatively high energy content, and on the other hand, as a rule, the rather low content of vitamins and minerals. Also, many sugar-rich foods contain a lot of fat - for example, chocolate, cookies, buns, cakes and ice cream.

Sugar-rich foods and drinks can damage your teeth if you don't pay enough attention to oral hygiene. Teeth should be thoroughly cleaned at least two times a day, and between meals to be cleaned, for example, using chewing gum. If the sugars contained in fruits do not so much damage the teeth, then the structure of the juices is already split, and therefore they are just as harmful to the teeth as any other sugar-rich food, especially if you eat them often. Drinking a glass of fruit juice a day is still recommended (and preferably with food), as it enriches our table with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.