Carbohydrates are the source of glucose, but all foods containing carbohydrates do not increase blood sugar equally. The distinction between "sugars" and "sugars" has long been used. Traditionally, it is also believed that simple carbohydrates are absorbed quickly and therefore increased glucose faster than complex carbohydrates. This, however, is not true. Some simple carbohydrates (eg fructose) follow different pathways that result in only a partial glucose catabolism, while many complex carbohydrates, especially starch eg cooked, can be digested faster than simple.

The concept of glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load have been developed to characterize food behavior during human digestion. They rank carbohydrate-rich foods based on the rapidity and extent of their effect on blood glucose. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly food glucose is absorbed, while glycemic load is a measure of the total absorbable glucose in foods. The insulin index is a method of more recent classification that ranks foods based on their effects on blood levels of insulin, which are caused by glucose (or starch) and some amino acids in Food.

Sample table of glycemic index




  • Maltose 110
  • Glucose 100
  • Baked potatoes 95
  • Pastries 95
  • White bread 95
  • Honey 90
  • Sweet jams 90
  • Mashed potatoes instant 90
  • Parsnips 85
  • carrot 85
  • Rutabaga 70
  • Chocolate bars 70
  • Dried fruits 60
  • Fruit jams 55
  • Bread 55
  • Yam 50
  • Sweet potato 50
  • Wholemeal bread 50
  • Bran bread 50
  • Wholegrains 50
  • Peas 50
  • Wholemeal pasta 45
  • Oats 40
  • Rye bread 40
  • Fresh fruit juice (no sugar added) 40
  • Red beans 40
  • Dairy 35
  • Peas 35
  • Fresh fruits, apple, orange 30
  • Beans 30
  • Lenses 30
  • Chickpeas 30
  • Fructose 20
  • Soybean 20
  • Lemon 15
  • Nuts (peanuts) 15
  • Greens vegetables 15
  • (Tomatoes) ≤ 15
It is recommended to choose foods with a low glycemic index or average.

The energy load of a food is the most powerful determinant of its satiating power. Satiety is a behavioral phenomenon that responds to a preload proprotionnelle nutritional and regulates energy. Carbohydrates, sweetened or not, affect satiety according to their energy load.

Studies suggest that satiety is inversely proportional to the glycemic index of a food.

Weight control

Carbohydrates have metabolic features that give them some theoretical advantages over lipids in preventing weight gain and obesity.

Weight loss and fat mass induced by a low-calorie diet (1200 kcal per day) are not increased if the contribution of carbohydrates to energy intake increased by 25% to 75% at the expense of fat.

In situations of excessive intake, excess energy is stored, regardless of the levels of carbohydrates and / or fat excess energy.

Any excess energy intake, whether of carbohydrate, lipid or mixed, leads to weight gain when not offset by an increase in energy expenditure (increased physical activity, for example)

Sources of carbohydrates

See the list of foods that provide the most carbohydrates


Scientists agree lipid a majority stake in the energy needs of man (50-55% of energy). ANC carbohydrate value 100% on the graph of Nutrimeter ® corresponds to 50% of energy needs.

It is not recommended, however, that consoommation carbohydrates does not fall below 40% of energy (80% of the Nutrimeter ®) and do not exceed 55% of energy needs (ie 110% of the Nutrimeter ®) .

With numerous physiological effects, carbs are very important to the health and well-being of healthy humans. Potential risks associated with high intakes of carbohydrate only concern specific situations and are not likely to jeopardize the current recommendations (see weight control above).

A diet very low in carbohydrates (as in Eskimos), is not associated with any specific deficiency.

Carbohydrates and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)

It should specify that carbohydrate intake can not be considered in isolation but must be considered in a broader context involving balance carbs / MUFA. And food that seems most appropriate to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease is one in which the sum of the energy associated with carbohydrate and MUFA is equal to 2/3 to 3/4 of the total energy intake.

For the record, Nutrimeter ® base value of 100% ANC fat about 33% of energy needs.

(Source: "Recommended dietary allowances for the French people," the CNERNA-CNRS. Edition coordinated by Ambroise Martin.)