Carbohydrates – The Body’s Main Source of Fuel

Nutrition Advisor, Eileen Lane writes on  Carbohydrates -  the body’s main source of fuel.
Nutrition Advisor, Eileen Lane writes on Carbohydrates – the body’s main source of fuel.

By Eileen Lane

Many people whose desire it is to lose weight rapidly are all too tempted to undertake any latest diet craze. Many of these diets call for the curtailing of or increase of a particular macronutrient group (carbohydrate, protein or fat) While it might be tempting to follow the rules in a bid to produce fast results, the truth is that the elimination of any one macronutrient is not best practice for the body long term. The body requires all macronutrients for their own individual reasons. Here I focus on carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate has many important roles in nutrition:

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
  • Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
  • Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.

Carbohydrate also provides fibre for the body. Diets that are low in fibre have been shown to cause problems such as constipation and other complications. Diets high in fibre have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity, and they help lower cholesterol. Foods high in fibre include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.


Confidential one to one consultations are available with Eileen Lane Nutrition Advisor at Feale Fit, Abbeyfeale or All Therapy Centre, Rock St., Tralee. You can contact her on 087 3950063 or by email at