Thursday, 7 November 2013

Carbohydrates: Function, Types & Sources of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates play an important role in our body and they form a major part of our daily diet. However, have you ever wondered that why people have to eliminate carbs from their diet when they have to lose weight? Interesting isn’t it? Let me explain this to you. First we have to understand the function and importance of consuming carbs.
  • Function of Carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates are imperative for our body to get energy for regular tasks. This is the biggest source that provides us energy. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose to produce energy. They should be taken with the combination of other food groups such as protein, fats, minerals and vitamins to get a balanced diet which is essential to keep a healthy body and mind. Carbohydrates contain sugar that turns into glucose when broken down and released in the blood in digestive process. Liver stores them as glycogen and when our body lacks glycogen then it starts using amino acids and fats for energy. This is why it’s recommended to use less carbs if you want to lose weight so that body consumes stored fats.

Sufficient amount of carbs ensures the nervous system to function healthily as it largely depends on glucose for proper working. It is a common observation of our daily life that if we are lacking of carbs then we feel weaker, tired and fatigued. It becomes hard for us to focus or remember things. Lack of glucose is the basic reason for these symptoms and people with low blood sugar level are mostly aware of the condition.

Carbohydrates is a chief source of dietary fiber aka cellulose. These dietary fibers aid in the process of eliminating toxins and wastes out of the body. This also helps in keeping the intestines illness free.

  • Types & Sources of Carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates are divided into two groups known as simple and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are consisting 1 to 2 sugar molecules that are easy to digest and provide instant energy via elevating blood level quickly. Rapid blood swings should be avoided and these simple carbs should be taken in moderation as they are good in increasing the fats which lead to obesity and various health issues. Another issue related to simple carbs is that they rapidly boost energy level which is followed by a rapid drop in sugar level that leaves you more tired and weak at the end. Simple carbs are unnatural and should be avoided to keep lower the chances of tooth decay, weight gain, diabetes and mood swings. It is usually found in all forms of sugar, fruits, refined flour, soft drinks, snack bars, all bakery items, chocolate etc.

Complex Carbohydrates are consisting of long chain of sugar molecules which take more time to break down and keeps you full for longer. That is why they require more time to digest and provide you longer lasting energy than simple carbs. They are found in vegetables, whole grains, legumes, whole bread, pasta, brown rice etc. The slower and gradual release of energy is better for body.

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