Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Diane McKay

Tufts OpenCourseWare
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Foundations of Nutrition Science, Fall 2012
D. McKay, PhD, FACN



  • Explain the difference between simple vs. complex carbohydrates, and identify the major food sources of each.
  • Define mono-, di-, and polysaccharides, and give examples of each.
  • Identify the 2 different types of dietary fiber, describe their effects in the body, and list the major food sources of each.
  • Describe how sugars and starches are broken down in the digestive tract.
  • Explain how the digestion of fiber differs from other carbohydrates.
  • Define lactose intolerance.
  • List the major functions of glucose in the body.
  • Describe how the hormones insulin and glucagon maintain blood glucose at a constant level in the body.
  • Explain the terms glycemic response and glycemic index.
  • Identify the major sources of added sugars in the diet.
  • Describe the health consequences of a diet high in added sugars.
  • Discuss the health benefits of a diet rich in starch and fibers.

Required readings:

  • Whitney & Rolfes, Chapter 4, The Carbohydrates: Sugars, Starches, and Fibers; Highlight 4
  • Characteristics of Fiber (handout)
  • Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Selected Foods (handout)

Supplementary readings and links:

  • "Fiber – Start Roughing It!" (Harvard School of Public Health)

Whole Grains Council website (start with "Whole Grains 101")