Carbohydrates; friend or foe

Carbohydrates one of the important macronutrient found in food along with fats and protein, but the most misunderstood nutrient. People often say carbs as fattening and linked to various diseases, but this is not a real story. Let’s examine their role and bust this myth surrounding this hotly debated topic.

Types of carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates; simple carbohydrates consist of molecule called glucose. They rapidly degraded inside the body and raises blood glucose level. examples are honey, maple syrup, fruits and vegetables. Added sugar in cakes,candies and fruit juices is also simple carbs.

Complex carbohydrates; complex carbohydrates are starch and fibre. These are consist of long chain of glucose molecules. Examples are potatos, corn. Refined carbohydrates like white bread and pastries are also strach. Fibre is a plant derived indigestible carbohydrate.

Why we need carbohydrates:

  • Primary source of energy; The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy. carbs are quicker to process and provide fuel to our body.our brain consume more than 20% of total energy intake and glucose is the main fuel for brain cells.unused glucose is stored in muscles and liver in the form of glycogen.
  • Important for Gut health; Fibre is helpful in digestion and improves our gut health. Our gut is the host of around 1 trillion microorganisms. several studies show that these microorganisms are crucial for various aspects of our health. Dietary fibers are indigestable and feed our gut microbiota and promote growth of GOOD bacteria.
  • Carbohydrates helps preserve muscles mass; carbohydrates prevent the breakdown of protein for energy and preserve muscles mass.
  • They influence heart diseases and Diabetes; carbohydrates enrich with fibre, reduces the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and some form of cancer. One study shows that people eating cereal based fibre have a decreased risk of colon cancer. Oats and barely contain a special chemical called Beta glucan which may helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

How much carb do we need

Daily recommended intake for carbohydrates is 45-65% of total caloric intake and 130gm of glucose is needed for adequate supply of energy to the brain.

Why people think carbs are bad for our health;

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation as people think eating carb means they are eating an unhealthy diet and may gain weight, but all carbohydrates are created not equally. What makes a carb good choice for our health. complex carbohydrates are good for our health as they are

  • lower in calories
  • nutrient dense like minerals vitamins and fibre
  • lower in salt and fats

while simple carbohydrates like sugar, processed food, candies, fizzy drinks fruit juices and pastries.They ae not good for our health as they are

  • lower in nutrients
  • higher in calories
  • higher in salt and fat

These carbohydrates are linked to obesity and other chronic dieaeses as reported by studies. These carbs increase blood glucose levels rapidly and to combat this hyperglycemia, our body releases insulin. insulin promotes glucose storage in muscles and liver and allows the entry of glucose into fat cells by converting glucose into fatty acids. long term intake of a diet high in refined carbs may cause insulin resistance and increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, sugary drinks are a leading cause of tooth decay in children and adults.

what’s the answer to carbohydtrates;Eating the right type of carbs with moderation.

  • Look for carbohydrates which makes you fuller for longer with minium calories like wholegrains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid refined or procesed carbohydters.limit the intake of added sugars.
  • Take note of your body; whats makes you happy and energize and what food makes you lethargic and bloated. Notice pattern of your body, adjuct accordingly and choose your carb wisely.

Do not eat less, eat right ”.

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