Carbohydrates contribute to the maintenance of normal brain function

EFSA scientific opinion

In a scientific opinion issued in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that a cause and effect relationship had been established between the consumption of glycaemic carbohydrates and maintenance of normal brain function. "Carbohydrates contribute to the maintenance of normal brain function" is now legally a health claim.

Glucose is the preferred energy source for most body cells. The brain requires glucose for its energy needs.

What happens to the carbohydrates we eat?

Our digestive systems converts carbohydrates in food into glucose, a form of sugar which is carried in the blood and transported to cells for energy. The glucose, in turn, is broken down into carbon dioxide and water – a process which generates energy. Any glucose not used by the cells is converted into glycogen – another form of carbohydrate that is stored in the muscles and liver to be metabolised later and used for energy.

How much carbohydrate does the human body need?

In a healthy, balanced diet, carbohydrates should make up around a third of every meal.

Do carbohydrates make you put on weight?

Gram for gram, carbohydrates contain less than half the calories found in fat. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, while fats have 9. It is adding fat to bread in the form of butter or other full fat spreads which increases the calorie content.

How many grams of carbohydrates are in a slice of bread?

One medium slice of both brown bread and wholemeal bread provides 14,7g of carbohydrates, one medium slice of white bread provides 16,1g and one medium slice of seeded bread provides 16,6g.