Carbs, or carbohydrates, are molecules that have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods— They also come in a variety of forms. The most common and abundant forms are sugars, fibers, and starches.
Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. But carbohydrate quality is important; some types of carbohydrate-rich foods are better than others:
The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.*
Carbohydrates are your body's primary fuel source. They should make up 60% of a swimmer's diet. Foods such as oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain bread. Once digested they convert to food for your muscles and brain.