Carbohydrates, along with fats, are what your body uses for energy. But not all carbohydrates are created equal. Simple carbohydrates, such as those found in fruit juice, sugar, and honey, contain few vitamins or minerals and are digested very quickly, meaning they will provide short bursts of energy followed by a crash. Complex carbs, as found in cereals, most breads, etc., contain numerous vitamins and minerals and digest much more slowly.
Your body uses carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for energy, but the energy from carbohydrates is the most easily broken down. This is why it is suggested that athletes eat lots of carbs before games so that they have a ready supply of energy to use. The body actually uses fuel in this order when not dealing with stored energy: alcohol, protein, carbs, fat. When there are no carbs or energy to use from food though, the body will break down deposits of fat and protein in order to get energy. It is also good to note that any excess fuel is converted into fat for storage since that is the best way to store deposits to convert to energy.
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