Q:

What do carbohydrates provide in a diet?

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Quick Answer

Carbohydrates are important part of the diet because they are the essential source of energy in proper brain function, according to fitness site Active. They are easily burned for fast fuel and provide the body with stamina, endurance and speed. They also help the body retain fluids, recover from physical exertion and maintain mental focus and concentration.

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Full Answer

Carbohydrates are one of three basic energy sources for the body, along with fats and proteins, which are not as efficient as carbohydrates in providing energy. They are quickly converted into glycogen in the body and stored in the liver and muscles for fast access to energy. Low levels of glycogen cause athletes to not perform at their peak level. Depleted carbohydrate intake causes the mind to become foggy and makes a person feel sluggish, light-headed, uncoordinated and weak. Athletes in particular need carbohydrates to fuel their activities and give them the ability to perform at maximum potential.

Some believe that certain carbohydrates are better for the body than others. Good carbs include food items such as legumes, beans, starchy vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Bad carbs are products like white bread, processed desserts, candies, white pasta, white rice and anything with added sugar.

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