What Are Carbohydrates?
Regardless of the health or fitness magazine you read, there’s always a conversation about carbohydrates! Some schools of thought believe carbs are good for you and others say stay away!
What are your beliefs?
Maybe knowing the truth about carbs will help you make a better informed decision. In order to do so, let’s learn the truth about carbohydrates and what the really do for your body!
Carbohydrates are the body‘s main fuel source that provides energy for basic bodily functions such as breathing, body movements, digestion and normal heart functioning. When compared to fat and protein, carbohydrates are broken down at a quicker rate and are more readily available than any other macro-nutrient. For many reasons, this is beneficial. However, over the years, there has been a great amount of dispute regarding whether or not a person should consume carbohydrates or stay away from them.
In the early 2000’s, this dispute became profitable for many companies that focused on low-carb diet plans that encouraged low-to-no consumption of carbohydrates. This short-lived diet craze created the buzz that carbohydrates were the enemy within the food industry, but this picture wasn’t painted as clear as it should have been.
Let’s find out why!
Have ever been on an extremely low carbohydrate diet? If you have, did you experience low energy levels and restricted mental focus? If this occurred, it could have been the result of low glucose or blood sugar levels.
As stated earlier, carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for the bodies basic functioning and without the proper amount of carbohydrates from the right sources, the body doesn’t function at its best levels.
I understand with all the differing opinions on carbohydrates if you are still apprehensive about consuming them, but I want to put your fears to rest and teach you more about carbohydrates.
Why So Much Drama?
Right about now you might be a little confused about carbohydrates due to the fact that you have always heard carbohydrates are the enemy. Let me emphasize that carbohydrates aren’t the enemy and there’s no need for you to deal with the carbohydrate drama anymore.
First things first – let’s identify the different types of carbohydrates.
There are two primary types of carbohydrates: they are complex carbohydrates (3 or more sugar molecules) and simple sugars (1 or 2 sugar molecules). Carbohydrates are categorized by the number of sugar molecules they are made of and each type of carbohydrate metabolizes differently in the body based on their chemical structure.
What are complex carbohydrates?
Complex carbohydrates are made up of 3 or more sugar molecules. This molecular structure results in a slower absorption rate into our blood stream, compared to simple sugars. This slow absorption process provides the body with sustained amounts of energy and you are less likely to experience the blood sugar spikes compared to consuming simple sugars.
Therefore, it is recommended that the majority of your carbohydrates come from complex carbohydrate sources such as whole grain breads, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, and vegetables. We have learned about complex carbohydrates, now let’s learn about simple sugars.
What are simple sugars?
Simple sugars are made up of 1 or 2 sugar molecules. Their molecular structure results in faster sugar absorption into our bodies and high spikes in blood glucose or blood sugar levels. Consumption of simple sugars provides quick, but inadequate amounts of sustained energy.
These sugars are found in processed foods such as, baked goods, milk products, honey, corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Consuming high amounts of simple sugars has been linked to diabetes, weight gain, and other health related issues, including inflammation. Therefore, these should be consumed in moderation.