Dietary carbohydrates: role of quality and quantity in chronic disease

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Journal: BMJ Clinical Research

Publication Date: 06/2018

Summary: Carbohydrate is the only macronutrient with no established minimum requirement. Although many populations have thrived with carbohydrate as their main source of energy, others have done so with few if any carbohydrate containing foods throughout much of the year (eg, traditional diets of the Inuit, Laplanders, and some Native Americans). If carbohydrate is not necessary for survival, it raises questions about the amount and type of this macronutrient needed for optimal health, longevity, and sustainability. This review focuses on these current controversies, with special focus on obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death.

Key Takeaways

Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that is not essential for survival. Carbohydrates have also been implicated in many disease states including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, neurologic diseases, cancer, and premature death. What is the appropriate quality and quantity of Carbohydrate for human health?

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