Carbohydrates are often vilified. Look at Adkins or the South Beach diet and you'll basically think that carbs are the worst thing that you could ever consume...ever. In a way, they can be, and in many others they are far from it.
Previously, I've talked about calories and how they're important for you to know, especially those you should be consuming. Carbs provide you with 4 calories per 1 gram of carbohydrate. So it's generally easy, if you're pretty math savvy, to determine your carbohydrate calories. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate, almost "subtracts" their grams from your total carbohydrate, which would equal less calories.
Carbs are used for energy, and thus you should be
doing some level of movement to actually use them. They are consumed, broken down into it's simplest components, and sent into your cells for use as a quicker source of energy. So, carbs aren't useless. If you're regularly exercising or in a vigorous occupation, then you'll need carbs to fuel you. If you're not doing anything like that, then carbs aren't something that you'd likely concern yourself with, except that they taste good.
Villainous carbs are really not. The molecule receives negative feedback because when you consume a carb and a fat together, say...French Fries...then your body will prefer the carbs for use as energy and likely (unless you're hypocaloric) store the fat (from the oil) as fat. Most of our American diet consists of many foods that are carb rich and fat rich, and so it's likely that we'll gain fat mass over anything else.
Something else to consider....all carbs are sugars. Like, all of them. We can break it down molecule by molecule, but even starches, such as potatoes, are sugars when our stomachs and small intestines get a hold of them. Glucose, a type of sugar, is the end result of this breakdown and it's the "blood sugar" that we often refer to. All carbs, "good" or "bad" contribute to this. Blood sugar isn't inherently bad, it's just in high doses, it's not good. Just as much as too low is bad.
Carbs contribute energy to your body and with this energy your vital organs can function. Vital organs such as your brain (duh!), your heart, your intestines, etc. Without carbs, you fail to function. In the end, even on a low carb diet, you crave carbs, or your body converts various tissues and cells and molecules to glucose. So, before you hate on carbs, know where and when they fit into your life.