Carbohydrate-rich foods are an essential component of the diet, providing the glucose that is continuously required by the nervous system and some other cells and tissues in the body for normal function. There is some concern that too much carbohydrate or certain types of carbohydrate such as fructose or the high glycaemic index carbohydrate foods that produce large, rapid increases in blood glucose may be detrimental to health. This review considers these issues and also summarises the public health advice currently available in Europe and the USA concerning dietary carbohydrates. The UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is currently reviewing carbohydrates and health, and the subsequent report should help clarify some of the concerns regarding carbohydrates and health.
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