Energy is crucial for all bodily systems and functions. Many clinical studies have emphasized the importance of Carbohydrates, and in order to lead a healthy life, one must ensure that one receives the optimal daily intake of carbs.
What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates occur frequently in all living systems, and they are fairly straightforward molecules, consisting of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms.
In the scientific community, carbohydrates are often called saccharides, and they come in many different shapes and forms such as monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.
A good example for the last carbs are various fibers and starches. Carbohydrates help your cells and overall body to function while providing you with the energy you need. Overall, they can make you feel better and stronger, physically and mentally.
What is more, the right kind and amount of carbs can also help to keep your body fat and overall weight under control.
The most important and healthy type of carbohydrates are starches and fibers. It is easy to benefit from carbohydrates; one simply needs to watch for the glycemic index of the foods one consumes.
Starches, Sugars, Fibers - the three types of carbohydrates in our food
- small carbohydrates, but nonetheless very important
- can be digested by various enzymes to produce raw energy inside the cells of a body, which is necessary for all bodily functions and organs, for instance, the brain and the muscles
- are usually acquired by eating foods that are rich in these compounds, such as fruits or sweets
- large carbohydrates and the most widely consumed carbs in human diets
- usually digested into simpler carbohydrates, producing high amounts of energy
- main sources are staple foods, such as potatoes, wheat, maize or rice
- huge molecules that are produced by plants
- most come in the shape of cellulose, which is the main structural material of many plant cells
- not digested by the human body
- enhance the function of the gastrointestinal tract by cleaning it
- mostly found in dark-green vegetables and beans
Various carbohydrates have been studied clinically, and it has become clear that there are certain carbohydrates benefits that could be useful in a diet.
Depending on which particular carbohydrate is consumed, there are several carbohydrates benefits to be aware of. Carbohydrates can for example benefit your mind by relieving depression and anxiety and enhancing your memory.
Carbohydrates and the glycemic index
The glycemic index is an important number that shows how the intake of a certain food affects your blood sugar levels.
Higher glycemic indexes may result in so-called blood sugar spikes, which may cause fatigue, lethargy, headache and irritation. Therefore, it is advisable to eat foods with a lower glycemic index, so that these spikes can be avoided.
Several different carbohydrates have different glycemic indexes. Fibers and starches have the lowest glycemic indexes of all carbohydrates, therefore it is wise to prioritize foods such as beans, seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables and fruits.
White sugar, also known as sucrose, has a medium glycemic index. Thus, its consumption should be moderately limited. This includes foods such as dark bread, potatoes, berries and certain sweets,for example ice cream.
Glucose has the highest glycemic index, and, therefore, the direct consumption of glucose and glucose-rich foods should be avoided. Examples of such foods are white bread, white rice, corn flakes, breakfast cereals, sweet potatoes, pretzels and bagels.
Carbohydrates and energy
Carbohydrates are very closely associated with energy. Energy is important for all cells in the body, and without energy a body could not function properly.
The pathway from the ingestion of carbohydrates to the production of raw energy is fairly complicated, but it can be summarised in small and simple steps.
Firstly, once ingested, carbohydrates are digested by the enzymes in the body into glucose. This process may already start in the mouth, and it continues throughout the whole gastrointestinal tract.
Secondly, the digested carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood by the intestines. Thirdly, these carbohydrates are distributed to all cells in the body.
Finally, the cells digest the carbohydrates and produce raw energy, which is then used to power cellular processes.
Carbohydrates during a diet
Carbohydrates can be effectively used during a diet. As long as the correct dosages are followed, the consumption of carbohydrates can result in a healthy life and good well-being.
It is important to correctly prioritize the types of carbohydrates that should be consumed, and the types of carbohydrates that should be avoided or limited during. The glycemic index is a good indicator and a guide that can be used for this purpose.
Within a diet, it is important to meet the daily dosage requirements of foods containing starch, as well as fiber-rich foods. Conversely, it is important to limit the consumption of foods that have a high glucose or sugar content to avoid weight gain.
Carbohydrates dosage and recommendations
Carbohydrates dosage requirements should be strictly followed, because excessive consumption of carbs can result in carbohydrates side effects.
Since different brands produce their products differently, there are different dosage guidelines. Therefore, it is advisable to follow the supplement label in order to determine your optimal dosage.
For additional information, you should also consult with your doctor or pharmacist to find the best individual dosage.
Other names for carbohydrates
Carbs, Saccharides, Sugars, Fibers, Starches