Sources of Carbohydrates

Table of Contents

  1. Simple Carbohydrates
  2. Starchy Carbohydrates
  3. Fibrous Carbohydrates
  4. Complex Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates are biomolecules that consist of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The ratio of hydrogen and oxygen in carbohydrate is 2:1, which is similar to water.

Carbohydrates are macronutrients. They are one of the three main ways that a body can obtain energy. Carbohydrates are converted into sugar and this sugar will be used by the cells for its energy.

Explore more about Carbohydrates 

The Nutrition Sources of Carbohydrates

There are both healthy and unhealthy sources of carbohydrates. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include both food sources-animal and plant products, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, corn, potatoes, milk and milk products. Unhealthy sources include soda, white bread, artificial sugar, pastries, and other highly processed foods.

Carbohydrates can be found in different forms, such as sugars, starch, and fibres. Here is a list of carbohydrates from different sources and different forms.

Also refer: Nutrients 

Types of Carbohydrates

There are two types of carbohydrates:

  • Simple carbohydrates.
  • Starchy Carbohydrates.
  • Fibrous Carbohydrates.
  • Complex carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates cannot be produced by the human body. So, they should be taken through diet.

Simple Carbohydrates

Fresh fruits like apples, oranges, banana, pineapple, sweet potatoes, berries are rich sources of healthy simple carbohydrates. Foods that have artificial sugars and highly processed foods are unhealthy sources of it. Milk is also a rich source of simple carbohydrates.

Starchy Carbohydrates

Grains are rich sources of carbohydrates. Grains include whole grains, grain bread, etc. Some foods that are rich in carbohydrates are beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and some nuts. Cereals are also a rich source of carbohydrates.

Fibrous Carbohydrates

Fibrous carbohydrates can be found in fresh vegetables like pumpkin, carrot, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, etc.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are found in beans, peas, whole grains, barley, oats, wild rice, brown rice, etc.

Complex carbohydrates are good carbohydrates as they contain starch and fibre. Also, these carbohydrates do not spike sugar levels in the blood thereby helping in minimal sugar level in blood.

Functions of Carbohydrates

Following are the important carbohydrates functions:

  • These are the main source of energy.
  • It is a part of some connecting tissues.
  • These also help in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
  • The fibre in carbohydrates helps in lowering blood cholesterol.
  • It retains protein from being burned so it can be used to build and repair.

To learn more about Carbohydrates, its sources and function or any other related topic, explore BYJU’S Biology.

Frequently Asked Questions on Sources of Carbohydrates


What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are macronutrients, found abundantly in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.


What are the best sources of Carbohydrates?

Bread, Beans, Whole grains, Corn, Cereals, Potatoes, Dairy products are some of the best sources of the Carbohydrates.


What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are essential nutrients, obtained through a well-balanced diet and are required in a larger amount for the proper functioning of the body. Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats are three different types of Macronutrients.


What are the main functions of Carbohydrates?

The primary functions of carbohydrates are:
Involved in Lipid metabolism
Helps in building Macromolecules
Provide energy and stores energy
Regulation of blood glucose level
Prevent the degradation of skeletal muscles and tissues.


What are the 4 types of Carbohydrates?

Monosaccharides, Disaccharides, Oligosaccharides, and Polysaccharides are the 4 different types of carbohydrates.


What are the examples of Good and Bad Carbohydrates?

Whole grains, Tubers, Legumes, Nuts, Vegetables, Fruits and Seeds are all examples of good Carbohydrates. White bread, Chocolates, Candies, Sugary drinks, Pastries Ice-cream and other processed foods are all examples of bad Carbohydrates.

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