When we're talking about carbs, the first foods we tend to think of are bread, pasta and pizza. But carbohydrates are found in a number of healthy foods like fruit and vegetables, and unhealthy foods like lollies, soft drink and fruit juice.
While healthy carbs are part of a balanced diet, if you're watching your carbohydrate intake or weight, finding out how many carbs are in your favourite foods is a helpful tool to keep track of your diet.
"Carbohydrates provide a source of energy both for mental function and for physical activity," Chloe McLeod, accredited practising dietitian and sports dietitian, told HuffPost Australia.
"Particularly if you're someone who is doing high intensity or endurance-type physical activity, carbohydrates are a key fuel source for these types of activities."
What happens when we eat too much, or too little, carbs?
Consuming excessive carbohydrates or the wrong types of carb can lead to weight gain, but this doesn't mean we have to cut out carbohydrates completely -- rather, we must be selective about the type and quantity we consume.
"What I've noticed is a lot of people either overdo carbs or really underdo carbs," McLeod said.
"When we don't eat enough [carbs] we often feel quite tired, lethargic, have decreased ability to concentrate, decreased ability to exercise at the level you're used to, and you can end up really craving carbs or something sweet."
The potential long-term effects of restricting carbs can include nutrient deficiencies.
"Carbohydrates are often found in other nutrient-dense foods (like legumes, fruit and vegetables) so you may end up being deficient in other nutrients if you're not eating enough -- perhaps there's not enough fibre or B-vitamins," McLeod said.
"If you're not consuming enough carbs for the long-term, it can also impact on other areas of your life. If you're unable to concentrate well that can have an impact on work. Or if you're training for a marathon and you're not eating enough carbs it can have an impact on how well you can run."
How many carbs should you eat per day?
The exact number of how many carbs someone should eat per day is varied depending on the person and how much physical activity they're doing.
"Carbohydrate needs are incredibly individualised, so use these general guidelines but remember what you need specifically may be very different," McLeod said.
Sedentary/Low physical activity level
"As a very general rule of thumb, for someone who is sitting behind a desk, not doing any physical activity at all and wants to be on a low carbohydrate diet, I would usually aim for 1-3 grams of carbohydrates (per kilogram of body weight) per day," McLeod said.
"I would rarely put someone on a diet that is less than 100 grams of carbs a day. People often think even this is too much but it's not. For most people this is 1.5-2 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day, which is not keto but is still quite low."
Low intensity physical activity
"For somebody who is doing small amounts of lower intensity-type exercise, aim for 3-5 grams of carbohydrates (per kilogram of body weight) per day," McLeod said.
High amounts of intense physical activity
"People who are doing above this exercise level, where they're doing harder, heavy training and physical activity, is when the quantity starts to considerably increase -- five grams or more of carbohydrates (per kilogram of body weight) per day," McLeod said.
On days you do exercise McLeod recommends appropriately increasing or simply not reducing carb intake. However, if it's a rest day consider reducing carb intake.
"I do suggest mixing up your carbohydrate intake during the week based on what you're doing and what your body is going to require," McLeod said.
"Rather than being always low carb or always high carb, plan it around what you're doing so it works for you."
How many carbs in 17 common foods:
- One medium-sized banana = around 19 grams of carbohydrates
- One regular slice of wholemeal bread = around 12 grams
- One egg = 0.1 grams
- One standard pink lady apple = 19.5 grams
- One standard medium white potato = 20 grams
- 100 grams of sweet potato = 14 grams
- 100 grams of butternut pumpkin = 7 grams
- One cup of grapes = 25.5 grams
- One cup of sultanas = 150 grams
- One regular doughnut with cinnamon sugar = 22 grams
- One small whole pizza with a thick base = 185 grams
- One packet of two-minute noodles = 52 grams
- 100 grams of cooked white rice = 28 grams
- 100 grams of kidney beans (boiled from dried) = 9.1 grams
- 100 grams of quinoa (cooked) = 16 grams
- 100 grams of watermelon = 5 grams
- 100 grams of broccoli = 1.3 grams