Understanding the role of carbohydrates in optimal nutrition
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Understanding the role of carbohydrates in optimal nutrition

Shirley Hinde Registered dietitian and senior lecturer in nutrition, Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, Centre for Nutrition and Dietetics, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of the forms of carbohydrate and their classification

  • To understand the health effects of various forms of carbohydrate

  • To provide appropriate nutritional advice to patients on the role of carbohydrates as part of a healthy and balanced diet

In recent years, the regulation of carbohydrate intake has become regarded as essential to achieve a balanced diet, with a range of health benefits attributed to low-carbohydrate diets. However, much of the advice on reduced carbohydrate intake does not reflect government-led dietary guidelines. As a result of this conflicting information, patients requiring assistance with weight management or glycaemic control may become confused about the appropriate carbohydrate intake, or be encouraged to experiment with ‘fad’ diets. As front-line healthcare professionals, nurses are in a prime position to advise patients on carbohydrate intake, as well as signposting them to evidence-based dietary resources. This article outlines the constituents of dietary carbohydrate, considers the health benefits of carbohydrates, and explains their importance as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11323

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Hinde S (2019) Understanding the role of carbohydrates in optimal nutrition. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11323

Published online: 29 July 2019

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