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□ Developed countries ■ Developing countries

□ Developed countries ■ Developing countries

Figure 1 Trends in energy consumption by carbohydrate food group as a percentage of total carbohydrate in developed and developing countries, obtained from food balance data in 1994. Data obtained from FAO/WHO (1998). Carbohydrates in human nutrition. Report of a joint FAO/WHO expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Papers 19 66: 1-140.

Polysaccharides

Starch Starch is the most important and abundant food polysaccharide. Starch is predominantly derived from plant seed, such as wheat, maize, rice, oats, and rye, and from plant roots, such as potatoes. Legumes and vegetables also contribute to the starch content of the diet. Bread and pasta are popular forms of starch, while tropical starchy foods, such as plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, and yams are increasingly contributing to carbohydrate intake. Starch accounts for 20-50% of total energy intake, depending on the total carbohydrate consumption.

Nonstarch Nonstarch polysaccharides (NSP), formerly referred to as 'dietary fiber,' can either be soluble or insoluble and are mainly derived from cereals, especially wholegrain. Wheat, rice, and maize contain predominantly insoluble NSP, while oats, rye, and barley contain predominantly soluble NSP. Vegetables are also a source of NSP and contain equal amounts of insoluble and soluble NSP. Intakes of NSP range from about 19 g day-1 in Europe and North American countries to 30gday-1 in rural Africa.

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