Background: Dietary carbohydrates are a group of natural compounds that includes simple sugars and complex
polysaccharides in addition to fibres. The primary role of carbohydrate is to provide energy for various physiological
functions in the body.
Objective: A relatively high intake of complex carbohydrate and a limited intake of added or free sugars are generally
recommended for a healthy diet. Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that are obtained from consumed food and cannot
be synthesized by the body.
Methods: The requirement of carbohydrates in diet such as sugars, starches and fibres is essential to understand and
evaluate the nutritional status of individuals, populations and the epidemiology of deficiency diseases.
Results: The dietary guidelines specify that carbohydrates should provide about half of the total calories in a balanced diet
while free sugars should be limited to 5-10% of energy. The dietary fibre is non-digestible carbohydrate which is not
absorbed in the body but is important for satiety and laxation. Adult humans should consume 40-60% of their daily calorie
intake from carbohydrates, except for infants and children who need a higher proportion of fats and proteins in their diet.
Conclusion: It is recommended to consume complex carbohydrates and dietary fibres in the diet for health. Free and
added sugars are not recommended if a person is diabetic, obese and trying to lose weight. The function of different types
of carbohydrates in diet is an active area of study and further recommendations are essential to elucidate its function in
health and diseases.