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carbohydrates

What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are substances that release energy when they break down, usually in the form of sugar. Carbohydrates are found in various sources such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and cereals. They provide us with the energy we need to go on living our lives as well as fueling our organs and muscles and keeping our blood sugar levels steady. Without carbohydrates in your diet, it would be very difficult for you to survive — without them you will tire out easily and may experience something called ketosis which is difficult to recover from unless there is a lack of dietary protein present.

Have you ever heard someone say, "Stick to meat only" or "Eating carbs is poison"?

Well, those are two popular but silly misconceptions regarding the use of sugars. Although it is true that you should limit the amount of processed carbohydrates you eat in your diet, having a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is always going to be better than having a diet rich in simple carbohydrates. In both cases, they are a source of energy that's great to have around, but different from each other.

Strawberries are one specific fruit that we commonly associate with sugar consumption. However sugar isn't really an ingredient of strawberries — it's there as a preservative solution for the berries. Instead, strawberries, along with many other fruits such as apples, oranges, and pears are high in fructose, which is a monosaccharide carbohydrate. Monosaccharides are the simplest of all carbohydrates in that they only consist of one sugar molecule.

Monosaccharides can be further broken down into two pieces: fructose and glucose. The main difference between them is that glucose will tend to burn more slowly for longer periods than fructose. That doesn't matter so much when it's contained in fruits because fruit contains other substances such as water that slow the sugars' rate of consumption. That's not the case with processed sugars however, where a large percentage of them will be consumed rapidly, like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.

Why are carbohydrates so vital?

Carbohydrates are necessary for our bodies to maintain equilibrium and provide us with energy. For example, if you don't eat enough carbohydrates, your body will start to burn its own muscle tissue — which isn't good as well as it prevents that fat from being burned as energy. Another source of individual energy is amino acids and fats; however, they tend to be broken down quickly into usable energy which is why they're not a great long term solution for people who don't have a good source of dietary protein in their diet. What kind of carbohydrates should you choose?

So how can you choose the right carbohydrates for you? Well, in that case, it's best to go for complex carbs rather than simple ones. Simple carbs are found in things like white bread and white rice, which means they're not only stripped of all their natural nutrients but also high in calories. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains and starchy foods such as cereals. They're still energy sources however they contain more nutrients which is why they tend to be a better choice than simple sugars. An added bonus is that complex carbohydrates take longer to break down which results in fewer spikes in your blood sugar levels.

What are your options?

If you're trying to choose between simple and complex carbohydrates, what are some of your options? Well, for example, one of the better choices of simple sugars is fruit because it contains other nutrients that help slow down its release. Fruits also have a high water content which helps regulate the blood sugar spikes that occur when you eat something sweet.

In fact fruits are one area where both kinds of carbohydrates can be found — in the form of fructose. Fructose has been known to trigger insulin an anabolic hormone but it takes longer to break down than glucose.

What's more, glucose is also great for energy provided that your body doesn't have sufficient glucose stores or liver glycogen.

examples of carbohydrates:

You have likely heard of these carbohydrates before and perhaps enjoyed them in the past when you were younger. Here is a brief look at some carbohydrate examples which include complex carbohydrates, simple sugars, and fats in order for you to form a better picture about what kind of food you will be consuming:

Complex carbohydrates: rice, pasta, potatoes

Simple sugars: fruit juices, soft drinks

Fats and proteins: butter, cheese

Complex carbohydrates are found in milk and yogurt while simple sugars can be found in fruits such as bananas or apples. In terms of fats and proteins it's easy to notice that milk contains both protein and fat while fruits contain mainly sugar. It would be best to gain carbs from milk and complex carbohydrates compared to just fruits due to their ease of digestion and the fact that they are more likely to contain nutrients which will help you feel better overall.

carbohydrates

How should I choose them?

As far as choosing carbohydrates goes, it's best to go for complex carbohydrates over simple sugars. It's important that you watch out for sugar content even if what you're consuming is natural sugar — fructose.

In general, the fewer spikes in your blood sugar levels the better it is for your body because it tends to burn off fat more easily. In terms of choosing carbohydrates, you will want to avoid simple sugars in the form of candies and soft drinks. The best thing about complex carbohydrates is that you are actually able to obtain a good amount of energy from them even if your body doesn't have a substantial amount of dietary protein.

The best thing about complex carbohydrates is that they're not as bad for you as simple sugars because they take longer to digest so there are fewer spikes in your blood sugar levels.

carbohydrates food:

The term carbohydrate refers to any compound which can be converted into glucose. Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient and the main source of food for living organisms. The main role of carbohydrates is serving as an energy source, together with fats, proteins and water. Carbohydrates include foods such as vegetables, fruits, breads, pasta and sugar. Carbohydrates are plant-derived compounds but also sugar in fruits and milk products. Sugars are carbohydrates that have high caloric value because they contain a lot of calories per gram. Because they contain a lot of calories per gram they are used as an alternative to fats when food producers want to lower the calorie content of the food without changing its palatability or taste. Carbohydrates are one of the main sources of energy, particularly in animals and humans.

What are carbohydrates made of?

Carbohydrates are mostly sugars and starches and are found in both plants and animals. Carbohydrates can be classified chemically as a polyhydroxy aldehyde or ketone. Chemically, glucose is the parent structure for all types of carbohydrates, including starch, cellulose and glycogen. All types of carbohydrates have the same chemical formula but each carbohydrate has different structures with varying levels of complexity. Although there is no direct connection between weight gain from sugar intake, sugar does have a major role to play in health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Did you know?

Carbohydrates are sugars that can be converted into glucose or glycogen by the body. The four to five calories per gram of carbohydrates are used to provide the body with energy. The body stores carbohydrates in two ways: as long chains called glycogen and as single glucose molecules in the form of starch. Sugar also contains a small amount of protein and fat. Carbohydrates tend to come from plant sources, but they can also be found in milk and other dairy products, fats, fruits and vegetables.

Composition

Carbohydrates are made from three primary chemical components: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The carbon is found in all carbohydrates and is part of the structure of chains called sugar and starch. Hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are also in sugar. These are the three components that make up proteins, fats and starches; these compounds are found in all foods. The carbohydrates we eat include water, sugars and other nutrition components such as protein and fat. The carbohydrate food list includes the following:

Complex Carbohydrates: whole-grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables

Simple Sugars: fruit juices, soft drinks


What are simple sugars?

Simple sugars can be found in foods such as milk, bread, pasta and fruit juices. Simple sugars have fewer nutritional benefits than complex carbohydrates because they lack phytonutrients that can prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are four main types of simple sugars: glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.

Did you know?

Simple sugars are found in foods such as bread, pasta and fruit juices. Simple sugars have fewer nutritional benefits than complex carbohydrates because they lack phytonutrients that can prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are four main types of simple sugars: glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.

Composition

Simple sugars are found in foods such as milk, bread, pasta and fruit juices. Simple sugars have fewer nutritional benefits than complex carbohydrates because they lack phytonutrients that can prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are four main types of simple sugars: glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.

The main function of sugars is as a source of energy for the body. Sweeteners such as table sugar, honey and syrups are sweet to the taste because they have little nutritional value or nutritional value because they are not broken down by enzymes in the digestive system. Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharine and aspartame, have an addictive effect on the body because it is hard to adjust to not having sweetness in foods.

Did you know?

Sugars come from plants or manufactured food products. Sugars are made from a single chemical called sucrose which is made from two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. Sucrose is a type of sugar that is mainly used as a sweetener. Glucose and fructose are common sugars in plants, fruits and vegetables. They are composed of one carbon atom and four oxygen atoms.

How does syrups work?

Syrups are made from sucrose which is made from glucose and fructose. Syrup is produced either by mixing concentrated sugar with water or by adding water to sugar. This process is called simple syrup as opposed to cane sugar which has several refining processes including crystallization, filtration, bleaching, crushing and refining. Simple syrup is just like the sugar in the raw cane because it is chemically the same but is not as pure because there is no filtering.

Composition

Syrups are made from sucrose which is made from glucose and fructose. Syrup is produced either by mixing concentrated sugar with water or by adding water to sugar. This process is called simple syrup as opposed to cane sugar which has several refining processes including crystallization, filtration, bleaching, crushing and refining. Simple syrup is just like the sugar in the raw cane because it is chemically the same but is not as pure because there is no filtering.

How is it converted into glucose?

Glucose is a simple sugar that comes from the natural breakdown of food. Glucose is converted into glycogen by the liver and muscles to provide energy for daily activity. The liver can also convert glucose into two simple sugars called fructose and galactose. These two simple sugars are converted into fats in the liver which are stored as body fat when there are no more uses for energy in the body. Glucose can also be synthesized from carbon dioxide and ammonia by certain bacteria. It can also be produced from photosynthesis by plants, algae and phytoplankton through photosynthesis; this process converts sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (CO2) directly into glucose. Did you know?

Glucose is a simple sugar that comes from the natural breakdown of food. Glucose is converted into glycogen by the liver and muscles to provide energy for daily activity. The liver can also convert glucose into two simple sugars called fructose and galactose. These two simple sugars are converted into fats in the liver which are stored as body fat when there are no more uses for energy in the body. Glucose can also be synthesized from carbon dioxide and ammonia by certain bacteria. It can also be produced from photosynthesis by plants, algae and phytoplankton through photosynthesis; this process converts sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (CO2) directly into glucose.

Free sugars

Free sugars are any sugars added to foods that are not in the original food product. There are natural free sugars such as fructose and glucose found in fruits and vegetables, but there are also artificial free sugars such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol which come from plants. Sorbitol comes from fruits, sugar cane or corn syrup; it is used as a sweetener because it has a pleasant taste. Mannitol comes from plants such as flowers, sugar cane or corn syrup; it is used as a sweetener because it has a pleasant taste. Xylitol comes from plants such as birch and corncobs; it is used as a sweetener because it has a pleasant taste.

Why the free sugars in food are not good for health?

Free sugars are any sugars added to foods that are not in the original food product. There are natural free sugars such as fructose and glucose found in fruits and vegetables, but there are also artificial free sugars such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol which come from plants. Sorbitol comes from fruits, sugar cane or corn syrup; it is used as a sweetener because it has a pleasant taste. Mannitol comes from plants such as flowers, sugar cane or corn syrup; it is used as a sweetener because it has a pleasant taste. Xylitol comes from plants such as birch and corncobs; it is used as a sweetener because it has a pleasant taste.

Try these tips for adding healthy carbohydrates to your diet:

• Drink water with a pinch of salt. This helps increase your intake of sodium, an important nutrient to help maintain a healthy body.

• Eat foods that are high in complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try adding whole wheat pasta and brown rice or whole grain bread to meals (1).

• Add some fruits, like apples and pears, to your diet since they are very low in sugar (2).

• At night, try to eat a small bowl of yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh fruit for dessert. These foods have a lot of carbs, but it is not all sugar so it is a good choice if you like sweets (3).

• If you do not like the taste of starchy foods, try mixing them with other types of food. For example, use a 2:1 ratio of potatoes to carrots for orange juice muffins (4).

References

1. "Healthy Diet for Healthy Weight-An ABC Guide." CRC Press, 2004.

2. "Fruits and Fruit Juices: A Healthier Choice." American Dietetic Association, May 2010.

3. "Smoothies and Shakes: Delicious and Healthy Way to Cool Down." Mayo Clinic Staff, 2005.

 

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