Carbohydrate Facts for Kids

A Picture of Foods with Carbs
  • Name: Carbohydrate, Carbs
  • Type of Food: Nutrient
  • Sources: Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc.
  • Energy Produced: 17 kJ (kilojoules) per gram
  • Purpose: Primarily to provide the body with energy
  • Male Dietary Needs: Between 45% and 65% of daily calories
  • Female Dietary Needs: Between 45% and 65% of daily calories

21 Carbohydrate Facts for Kids

  1. Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients required by the human body.
  2. The primary role for carbohydrates in the human body is to provide energy and support the nervous system.
  3. A lack of carbohydrates in your diet can cause central nervous system issues and will cause your body to break down muscle for protein, which it will use for energy.
  4. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommendations from the USDA and HHS states that between 45% and 65% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
  5. Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, if you’re eating 2,500 calories a day, between 1,125 and 1,625 of those calories should come from carbohydrates.
  6. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.
  7. Unhealthy sources of carbohydrates include processed food, white bread, baked goods and soda beverages.
  8. The most important carbohydrate to all living organisms, including humans is glucose.
  9. There are two main types of carbohydrates in food and they are simple or complex.
  10. The basic difference between a simple or complex carbohydrate is its chemical chain and how quickly the human body can digest and absorb them.
  11. Simple carbohydrates are natural sugars and can be found in fruits, vegetables and other foods.
  12. A simple carbohydrate only contains one or two sugars.
  13. A simple carbohydrate will provide energy quickly for your body and spike your blood sugar.
  14. A simple carbohydrate can yield 16.19 kJ (kilojoules) per gram.
  15. Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) are starches. Polysaccharides can be found in white bread, baked goods and other processed or refinded foods.
  16. A complex carbohydrate contains three or more sugars.
  17. A complex carbohydrate provides energy over a long period of time for your body and not spike your blood sugar.
  18. A complex carbohydrate can yield between 14.93 and 17.23 kJ (kilojoules) per gram.
  19. Low carbohydrate diets, like the Atkins Diet, can be very bad for your health. While they can help you lose weight, it will have a negative affect on your central nervous system. It will also force your body to use protein for energy, resulting in lost muscle mass.
  20. A healthy diet should include carbohydrates that are from natural sources, including but not limited to fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
  21. To encourage healthy weight loss, you should live an active lifestyle, exercise and avoid foods with complex carbohydrates, like snacks, soda beverages and processed foods.

Additional Resources on Carbohydrates