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Health Tip: The Skinny on Carbohydrates

-- Carbohydrates include foods with fiber, sugars and starches.

Simple carbohydrates have one or two sugars, while complex carbohydrates contain at least three sugars, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Simple carbohydrates with natural sugars include milk products, fruits and vegetables. Simple carbs with refined sugars -- including candy, soda and syrups -- have little nutritional value and should be avoided in excess, the agency says.

Examples of complex carbohydrates include starchy vegetables, legumes (such as dried peas, beans and lentils) and whole-grain foods.

The NLM says between 40 percent and 60 percent of your daily total caloric intake should come from carbohydrates, mostly from complex carbohydrates.

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Posted: November 2009