Jumat, 21 Juni 2013

Carbohydrates: Explained

We have all heard of the low carb diet rage. But, what exactly are carbohydrates and what do they do for your body? In essence, carbohydrates are our body’s energy source. They are found in many foods including breads, pastas, cakes,, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are made up of one or more molecules of simple sugar.

The types of sugars in carbohydrates are:

~ Monosaccharides: 1 Molecule sugars found in glucose (blood sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), and galactose (mainly in milk)
~ Disaccharides: 2 monosaccharides linked together as in sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose (malt sugar)
~ Polysaccharides: Complex Carbohydrates, which are simple sugars linked together in different ways

The last one, complex carbohydrates, are the ones that your body breaks down slowly for energy. They are a vital part of a healthy diet. They assimilate slowly, have a lower effect on blood sugar, are less processed than other carbs and provide a variety of other nutrients.

In order to provide your body with the complex carbohydrates it needs to give you energy, there are a few key points to remember:

~ Buy organic whenever possible
~ Eat whole grains as much as possible
~ Leave the nutritious skin on your fruits and vegetables
~ Avoid refined, simple sugars such as cakes, cookies, etc
~ Avoid refined complex carbs such as chips and white bread

Keep in mind your body needs these. They provide essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So stock up on your fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, limit your dairy intake, and start eating your way to a healthier life!

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