Why eat carbohydrate?

Executive summary

* This note summarises what carbohydrates are, from fructose to fibre.

* It briefly looks at the role carbohydrates have played historically – feeding and growing the population and freeing people up to do other activities.

* It explores why official dietary guidelines specify carbohydrate intake of 55% or higher, as a proportion of total calories.

* It presents the main public health arguments for eating carbohydrates and the counter-arguments that are immediately obvious.

* It presents arguments for reducing carbohydrate intake.


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