Not getting enough carbs in your diet could leave you feeling cranky and tired, since carbs are one of your body's main sources of energy and the preferred energy source for your brain and nervous system. However, some types of carbs are more nutritious than others.
The recommended daily value for carbs is based on a 2,000-calorie diet, so if you eat more or fewer calories than this, your carb needs may be different, but checking the percent daily value on nutrition labels can give you a general idea of whether a food is high or low in carbs. A food is low in carbs if it contains less than 5 percent of the daily value and high in carbs if it contains 20 percent of the daily value or more.
The daily value for total carbs is 300 grams, which is equal to 1,200 calories per day from carbs, or 60 percent of your total calories for the day. This fits the recommendation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends you get between 45 and 65 percent of your calories from carbs.
The daily value for fiber, which like sugar and starch is a type of carb, is 25 grams. Fiber helps add bulk to your stools so you don't get constipated and it slows down the emptying of your stomach to help control your blood glucose levels and keep you feeling full for longer. It may also lower your cholesterol and thus your heart disease risk. Eating whole grains instead of refined grains will help you increase your fiber intake and so will eating fruits and vegetables.
While there isn't a daily value for sugar, the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar, which is equal to 100 calories, per day. Added sugars provide calories without increasing the amount of nutrients you consume, so you want to limit them. If you eat too many foods with added sugars, you may wind up gaining weight because of the excess calorie consumption.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.