Today, there is a lot of information going around regarding what carbohydrates are, and how low carbohydrate or high carbohydrate diets affect the human body. To separate the hype from the truth, let us go back to the basics of carbohydrates.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, commonly shortened to carbs, are the main source of energy of the body. These can be broken down by the body to make glucose, which can either be expended immediately or be stored in the muscles and the liver for future use.
What are the different types of carbohydrates?
There are several types of carbohydrates based on their different characteristics. By being aware of these types, it will be easier to understand which food can give the body some health boost. The three main types of carbohydrates are simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
Simply carbohydrates or sugar
Simple carbohydrates such as monosaccharides and disaccharides can be found in fruit, vegetables and milk as well as the sugars added during food processing and refining. These are referred to as the simple carbohydrates because they can be found in their most basic form.
As previously mentioned, both fruits and candies contain simple carbohydrates or sugars. However, the important difference is that fruits usually contain more nutrients that are beneficial to the body.
Complex carbohydrates or starch
Complex carbohydrates can be found in bread, pasta and cereals as well as in other vegetables such as dry beans, potatoes, corn and peas. These complex carbohydrates are made up of simple carbohydrates strung together. In order for the body to be able to use these for energy, they have to be broken down into sugars first.
Fiber can be found in grains as well as other fruits and vegetables. These carbohydrates, which consist of non-starch polysaccharides, can come as either soluble or insoluble fiber. Consumption of soluble fiber helps the body produce healthful compounds during fermentation, while consumption of insoluble fiber promotes stool regularity by accelerating the movement of food through the intestinal tract.
Choosing healthy carbohydrates
As previously mentioned, some food products that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates may have many calories but few nutritional values. If you are watching your calorie intake, you may want to watch out for food containing added sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, honey and malt syrup. You may easily check for these at the list of ingredients printed on the food package.
Moreover, the nutritional facts label can also give you an idea of how much dietary fiber is included in the food product. These contain a lot of nutritional benefits for the body. A good amount of dietary fiber is 25 grams per day.
If you want to cut back on some carbohydrates, you may also want to treat yourself with low carb bread and bagel from Linda’s Diet Delites. These treats consist only of healthy and slow digesting carbohydrates, and are also low on calories.