Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Not So Guilty Carbohydrates

Recently carbohydrates have received a bad rap and have been blamed for weight gain. Carbs are not the sole reason; what kinds you eat and how much is key.

There are several types of foods that provide carbohydrates. Try to eat these in their most natural state to get the optimum nutrients they can provide!

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Milk products
  • Bread and grains
  • Products with added sugars

There are two types of carbs that are very important in the diet and they serve different functions:

  • Simple: Sugars that are digested very quickly
    • Provide a quick bust of energy
    • Things that taste sweet like fruit, candy, and pastries
  • Complex: Sugars that take longer to be digested
    • Provide longer term energy
    • Things like vegetables and unrefined grains
    • Often higher in fiber
    • Tend to be high in vitamins and minerals

About 45 to 65% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrate sources. Focus on eating half your grains as whole grains and limit the amount of refined carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, and products with added sugars. Refined grain products are striped of many of their natural nutrients, vitamins, and protein. Many of them are put back after the refining process but the natural fiber is lost. Eating only refined grain can make you gain weight if they serve as a primary source of calories in your diet.

So pay attention to what types of carbohydrates you are eating and focus on eating foods in their most natural state!

Eat healthy, live long, live strong

Your University Housing Nutrition Team,
University Residence Hall Dining

Michele Stoeppelman
Dietetics Graduate Assistant

Stephanie Nehrt
Undergraduate Nutrition Intern