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Carbohydrates are one of the macro-nutrients and come in two main types, starchy carbohydrates like bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and breakfast cereals and sugary carbohydrates like sweets, honey, jam, sugar, soft drinks and desserts.

Starchy and sugary carbohydrates contain the same amount of energy, about 3.75 calories per gram which is less than half that of fat. It is best to have most of the energy in the diet form starchy carbohydrates

When carbohydrates are eaten, the body converts most of it into glucose which is a sugar, so that the body can use it to fuel the cells like in the brain and muscles.

The government advice on healthy eating advises that a third of your diet should be made of starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice. Another third of your foods should be from fruit and vegetables. The general advice is to eat more fibre and starchy food and fewer sweets, chocolate, biscuits and cakes. The aim is to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetable a day. Wholegrain starchy foods are best like eating potatoes with the skins on.

You can increase the number of carbohydrates in your diet by increasing the soluble fibre found in foods like oats, lentils, beans and peas as well as any fruit and vegetables. High fibre starchy Carbohydrates are important as they release sugar into the blood more slowly than sugary food and drinks.