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Benefits of Carbohydrates And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2023

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Carbohydrates are essential elements for a balanced diet. The main types of carbohydrates present in foods include fiber, starch and sugar. Carbohydrates provide the fuel required for the body for physical activity, optimal organ function and brain function. The best sources of carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables because they contain vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals. They are the main source of energy and help in weight control, and help fight certain diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Carbohydrates with high glycemic index are ideal for athletes as they provide them with optimal energy levels to play the heavy-duty sport.


Carbohydrates provide the energy needed to perform the important functions of the body and to keep it active. Only some carbohydrate sources are nutritious, as refined carbohydrates lack essential elements that promote health, such as, vitamins, dietary fiber and minerals. These nutritional substances are vital for normal functioning of our body because they contain hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, which our body is made of. During digestion glucose is released by carbohydrates, and transported to different organs through the blood. The cells of the organs convert carbohydrates into energy. To gain your daily dosage of energy consume t foods like vegetables, pasta, bread and whole grains.

Nutritional Value of Carbohydrates

Each gram of carbohydrate releases 4 calories of energy. This essential nutrient is available in two forms- complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. To prevent heart diseases and remain healthy, consuming carbohydrates with low glycemic index is important. Our body needs about 225-325 grams of carbohydrates for its optimal function, and that can be obtained by consuming a 2000 calorie diet.

Health Benefits of Carbohydrates

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Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Carbohydrates

Energy for the Body

Carbohydrates provide energy to the body, and thus it should be consumed, optimally. Excess of carbohydrate can cause conditions like obesity and increases the risk of heart attacks because excessive carbohydrate cannot be broken down by the body and is rather converted to fat and stored.

Uplifts Mood

Carbohydrates is responsible for mood and appetite enhancing chemical serotonin. This chemical not only helps people to feel full and satisfied with their meals but also improves the mood.

Helps to Sleep Better

Consuming low-fiber and high glycemic index carbohydrates at bed time is a good idea because it helps to sleep better.. The speed of the carbohydrate absorption and the digestion is measured mainly by the glycemic index. Thus, the higher the glycemic index, the better is the rate of absorption of carbohydrates.

Provides Fiber to the Body

Fiber is also referred to as roughage or bulk, and it is a part of the plant based food. Fiber is vital for regular functioning of the bowel. Also, the risk of diabetes and heart diseases is significantly reduced by consuming more fiber. Fiber is of two types- insoluble and soluble fiber. Barley, oats, legumes and psyllium are rich sources of soluble fiber that adds moisture to the stool. The cholesterol levels can also be reduced as these bind to the bile salts. The insoluble fiber is found in nuts, grains and in vegetables.

Helps to Prevent Diseases

Fibrous foods provide the strength to fight certain diseases . like obesity and type 2 diabetes. helps to lower cholesterol and aids digestion. However, it is important to consume the right amounts of calories, and exercise regularly to prevent heart related diseases.

Prevents Blood Clots

Carbohydrates are organic compounds that are an excellent source of dietary fiber. The formation of accumulated cholesterol and fat is inhibited by the dietary fiber which is known commonly as the plaque. The flow of oxygen rich blood is restricted if the plaque grows inside the body and that would lead to blood clots disorder, and which would result in heart attack. To prevent the formation of plaque, it is very important that carbohydrates are consumed.

Useful to Control Weight

Most often carbohydrates are blamed for weight gain, but these are also useful in controlling weight, if consumed in the right amounts. By consuming more vegetables and fruits, weight loss can be easily achieved. Avoid fad diets and include healthy carbohydrates in your diet for weight loss.

Improves the Digestive System

Including fiber-rich carbohydrate in your diet improves the health of the digestive system. Fiber present in carbohydrates adds bulk to the stool and facilitates its easy elimination from the body. Thus, the feeling of bloating or constipation is significantly improved with right carbohydrate intake.

Helps to Keep Memory Sharp

Including sufficient amount of energy-giving carbohydrates in the diet improves the ability to memorize.

Best Nutrient for Athletes

About 0.9 grams of carbohydrate received from 1 kg of food per hour when consumed with 0.2 grams of proteins per kg per hour improves the agility and stamina of the athlete, and helps them perform, optimally.

Risk of cancer is reduced with carbohydrates

Carbohydrates that contain plant fiber are known to decrease the possibility of different types of cancers such as stomach and colon cancers. Thus, by consuming whole grains, vegetables and fruits in the diet, people can significantly reduce the risk of cancers.

Enjoy Healthier Skin

Carbohydrates being a good source of dietary fibers is perfect for promoting healthier skin. The fiber is also very beneficial in eliminating the toxins from the body and for improving the health of the skin. The flow of blood will be clear and an individual would have a healthy and clear skin.

Uses of Carbohydrates

Some of the complex carb foods include oatmeal, yams, brown rice, white potatoes with skin, multigrain and 100% whole wheat bread. They are beneficial in regulating optimal brain and body functions. An individual can become more alert and agile smarter by consuming the right amounts of carbohydrates as they are the main sources of energy for our body. Risk of chronic diseases can be avoided by including healthy carbohydrates in the diet.


Side-Effects & Allergies of Carbohydrates

45-65% of the calories required by the body is contributed by the carbohydrates, and if recommended dosage is not taken, then it can lead to chronic diseases. Diseases caused by excessive consumption of carbohydrates include high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cholesterol. Including carbohydrates with high glycemic index is not good for the body as it can cause type 2 diabetes, weight gain and even heart disease.

Origin And Cultivation of Carbohydrates

45-65% of the calories required by the body is contributed by the carbohydrates, and if recommended dosage is not taken, then it can lead to chronic diseases. Diseases caused by excessive consumption of carbohydrates include high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cholesterol. Including carbohydrates with high glycemic index is not good for the body as it can cause type 2 diabetes, weight gain and even heart disease.


  • Cummings JH, Edmond LM, Magee EA. Dietary carbohydrates and health: do we still need the fibre concept?. Clinical Nutrition Supplements. 2004 Jan 1;1(2):5-17. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from:
  • Mann J, Cummings JH, Englyst HN, Key T, Liu S, Riccardi G, Summerbell C, Uauy R, Van Dam RM, Venn B, Vorster HH. FAO/WHO scientific update on carbohydrates in human nutrition: conclusions. European journal of clinical nutrition. 2007 Nov 9;61(S1):S132. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from:
  • Englyst KN, Liu S, Englyst HN. Nutritional characterization and measurement of dietary carbohydrates. European journal of clinical nutrition. 2007 Nov 9;61(S1):S19. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from:

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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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