Carbohydrates are nutrients, along with proteins and other types of chemical compounds, but they are much more than that. In addition to sugars, of which there are many more varieties than ordinary sucrose, or table sugar, carbohydrates appear in the form of starches and cellulose. As such, they are the structural materials of which plants are made.
Carbohydrates are produced by one of the most complex, vital, and amazing processes in the physical world: photosynthesis. Because they are an integral part of plant life, it is no wonder that carbohydrates are in most fruits and vegetables. And though they are not a dietary requirement in the way that vitamins or essential amino acids are, it is difficult to eat without ingesting some carbohydrates, which are excellent sources of quick-burning energy.
Not all carbohydrates are of equal nutritional value, however: in general, the ones created by nature are good for the body, whereas those produced by human intervention—some forms of pasta and most varieties of bread, white rice, crackers, cookies, and so forth—are much less beneficial.