When it comes to proper nutrition, the conversation regarding carbohydrates is always of great importance. Unfortunately many do not know the basic characteristics of carbs nor do they understand what it does or how it affects the body. Below are some basics you need to know about carbohydrates.
When people hear the word carbs, they automatically connect it to weight gain. The reality is this; carbohydrates are necessary for a complete balanced diet as the body needs it to perform many important functions…One of which being your primary and quickest source of energy for physical activities. It assists in the provision of essential nutrients to the body in addition to some other great benefits.
For the most part, carbohydrates are found in all foods except meat products. Recently, some diets have recommended stripping out all carbohydrates from what you eat. Limiting bad carbohydrates such as sugar from your diet is a positive step but going further and refusing to eat fruits and whole grains can potentially deprive you of cancer fighting foods and more.
Carbohydrates can be broken down into two main categories; simple and complex. Sodas, candy and even fruits contain simple sugars while whole grains, fruits and cereals contain complex carbs. The main difference between the two groups are their chemical structures. Simple sugars are made up of a few sugar molecules while complex carbs are made up of hundreds and even thousands of these molecules put together. In your body, the end product of both is glucose.
Another difference between the two is the time needed to digest each one. If you consume 100 calories of simple sugars, your body can digest it a lot faster than if you eat the same amount of calories that are made of complex carbs. This is because simple sugars are closer to the end product than complex carbs which need more time to digest. Therefore if you take in simple carbs consisting of simple sugars, you will be hungrier sooner than if you ate the meal made of complex carbs.
Studies have shown that simple sugars contribute to obesity and diabetes, especially in children. It has also been shown that eating the good carbs can shield you from many types of cancers. So next time you pick up the magazine about the newest low carb claim, do keep in mind of the benefits you may lose out on.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that an adult should consume 45-65 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrate, 10 to 30 percent from protein, and 20-35 from fat. Do keep in mind that these numbers are not set in stone as you will see a variety of ranges depending on the source.
If weight loss is a priority then you should pay attention to the total calories you’re putting into your system per meal sitting or snack. This should not only focus on carbs but also protein and fat, as too much of each can add to your weight gain. Focus will be on total daily calorie intake, from which you will decide how much of it you want to come from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. There are many online calorie calculator to help you figure out your needed total daily calories. Simply type in “Online calorie calculator” and you will get many results to easily help you do this.
We hope these basic fundamentals help you in your understanding of carbs. Do keep in mind that the education doesn’t stop here. There are many free online articles that can increase your knowledge in this area. Remember to be specific regarding your search and always remember your health is primary.