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Did you know that carbohydrates are biomolecules? They are composed of three key elements: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They typically contain a hydrogen-to-oxygen atom ratio of about 2:1.
They provide the body with glucose, which is required to function properly and perform physical activities. Some sources of carbohydrates are whole grains and fiber. Here are some Interesting Facts About Carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy.
Carbohydrates are the fastest energy source, as they contain about 4kcal per gram. Both complex and simple carbohydrates have the ability to boost energy levels, but complex carbs are more sustained. While simple carbs provide a quick burst of energy, their rapid release leads to a crash when the energy is depleted.
When eating, remember that carbohydrates come in many forms, including sugars, starches, fiber, and grains. While some types are naturally occurring and can be found in fruits, milk, and bread, others are processed and added to food like cakes and breakfast cereals.
Simple carbs are easy to digest, but not all types raise blood sugar. Some carbohydrates have only one sugar, so they are referred to as monosaccharides, while others contain two or more.
In its purest form, table sugar is a simple carb. These carbohydrates quickly raise blood sugar. Too many carbohydrates will slow the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels causing your blood sugar to spike when you’re already at a dangerous level.
People with diabetes must watch their carb intake closely and eat healthy food sources whenever possible.
Complex carbohydrates release energy more slowly
When consumed in moderation, complex carbohydrates provide your body with more sustained energy than simple carbs. Complex carbs are comprised of hundreds or thousands of sugar molecules that must be broken down before your body absorbs them.
They also provide the body with less glucose, a substance that may increase your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
The benefits of eating more complex carbohydrates are many. When compared to simple carbs, complex carbohydrates contain more fiber and are more easily digested. In addition, they release energy more slowly, giving you a consistent supply of energy throughout the day.
On the other hand, simple carbohydrates are quickly converted into sugar by the body and immediately become available as energy.
Therefore, consuming a lot of simple carbs may cause your blood sugar levels to spike, causing you to feel tired and ineffective.
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate
In addition to reducing the risk of constipation, fiber also aids digestion. It regulates blood sugar levels and helps to control bowel movements. Fiber has other benefits, including reducing feelings of hunger. Consuming plenty of soluble fiber in your diet will also fill you up.
It also contributes to weight loss, especially if you exercise regularly. This means that consuming fiber does not provide energy but slows the digestion of other nutrients, including cholesterol.
Because fiber is complex, it is also available in two types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps your body absorb nutrients, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool. When eating, fibers from plant-based foods are an important part of a healthy diet.
These substances help the body digest food more efficiently and contribute to regular bowel movements. Fibers also lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, and keep you feeling fuller for longer. As an added bonus, they help you stay away from unhealthy foods such as junk food and refined sugars.
Although these studies are far from definitive, they do provide some interesting facts. For example, fiber consumption has been linked to lower risks of colon cancer and heart disease, which is not surprising since fiber is also found in fruits and vegetables. Although fiber is not a cure-all for colon cancer, it has been linked to a reduced risk of many conditions.
Whole grains are a healthy source of carbohydrates
You may be confused about whole grains as a source of carbohydrates. While all grains begin as whole grains, the process of milling removes key parts of the seeds.
While milling increases the shelf life of products, it also removes most of the essential nutrients. Therefore, it is best to eat whole grains to get the most nutritional value.
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2010 found that whole grains were associated with higher fiber and polyunsaturated fat content. In 2014, a study published in the Journal of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition reported similar findings.
In addition to brown pasta, whole grain products, such as quinoa, bulgur, hulled barley, millet, and oats, are also excellent sources of healthy carbs.
For example, one cup of brown rice has a carbohydrate content of 44.8 grams. Whole grains can also be found in gluten-free varieties.
High-glycemic diets lead to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes
Research shows that people with a diet high in refined carbohydrates have a much higher risk of heart attacks and strokes than those with a lower carbohydrate intake.
Participants who ate foods with a high glycemic index had a 20% increased risk of cardiovascular events. Researchers first identified refined carbohydrates as the main culprit in coronary heart disease.
The researchers then suggested that the presence of sugar, a lack of fiber, and saturated fats were the dominant factors in coronary heart disease.
Low-carbohydrate diets are not a good choice for active people
Studies have shown that a high-protein, low-carb diet can reduce testosterone and increase cortisol levels in men and can lead to problems with menstrual periods and hormone balance in women. In addition, low-carb diets can lead to messed-up hormones.
Considering all this, it’s easy to see why low-carb diets aren’t ideal for active people. Studies also show that carbs play an important role in muscle growth and high-intensity endurance exercise.
Simple carbs affect serotonin levels
Simple carbs are the biggest cause of spikes in serotonin. These quickly enter the bloodstream and give the brain an instant but short-lived serotonin boost. However, simple carbs are bad for your health in the long run because they contribute to inflammation, drive your blood sugar crazy, and do not sustain high levels of serotonin. These foods are found in almost every packaged snack, including many types of sweets.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are more healthful than simple sugars. These are composed of many sugar molecules bonded together and take longer to break down. This slow breakdown results in a smaller spike in blood sugar and a longer-lasting, more stable boost in serotonin.
The benefits of carbohydrates are many and important to our overall health. While you must consume some carbohydrates in your diet, the best sources of these nutrients are found in whole, unprocessed foods.
Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, should only be eaten in small quantities and as occasional treats. They should not make up a large portion of your dietary pattern.