Published: 03/30/2010 - Updated: 11/05/2017
Author: K. Laura Garcés G
Carbs (carbohydrates) are essential in the diet for human consumption. It is estimated that 50% of calories in the daily diet should be obtained based on carbohydrate intake.
What is a carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates (carbs, sugars or saccharides, which in Greek means "sugar") are organic molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Called carbohydrates or carbohydrate is not an appropriate term because they are not hydrated molecules (bound to a molecule of water) but are carbon atoms to other atoms. Carbohydrates are the primary biological form of energy storage and consumption. Other ways in which the body gets energy through food are fats and proteins.
What is their main function in the body?
They bring energy to the body as glucose. This energy is very important, essential for brain function and nervous system, since its cells need a balanced input of glucose daily.
Why carbohydrates should be the main source of energy production?
Because carbohydrates are nutrients that provide energy of rapid acquisition to the body. Fats, by contrast, are energy whose extraction is much more complex and difficult. Furthermore, carbohydrates provide cleaner energy than protein and fats, and don’t leave toxic waste in the body, especially if you eat carbohydrates from organic food. The proteins and fats are considered also vital components for the construction of cellular tissue and should be used for this purpose and not to provide energy.
What types of carbohydrates are there?
They are divided into two: the slow absorption and rapid absorption. The difference between the two is only the speed with which they are absorbed into our body, which is measured by how quickly you have to raise the glucose (sugar) in blood from the moment they are ingested. This rate much depends on the fiber or fat-containing foods and the handling they have received. If the food is very refined, will be absorbed faster and faster and rise blood glucose. Usually slow absorbing carbohydrates are unrefined or best suited to adequate food. Although there are some very healthy foods such as honey, which are classified as fast absorbing carbohydrates as glucose honey is predigested by the bees, which provides rapid carbohydrate absorption, but very beneficial.
What foods contain carbohydrates?
A wide variety of foods has carbohydrates needed in the diet; it appear in nature in abundance in vegetable products.
Foods that are classified as quick absorption carbohydrates:
Honey is a food rich in carbohydrates, has 75 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, it is also rich in other nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin C and pantothenic acid. This food gives a lot of energy, is especially recommended for athletes and those who require extra doses of energy. It is a very beneficial sweetener and refined sugar substitute, with extraordinary nutrition.
Fresh fruits are fruits that are absorbed faster than other fruits. They contain natural glucose with carbohydrate content of high quality and high in fiber. Rich in antioxidants.
Fresh vegetables: they are high in carbohydrates and also are rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Fruits and vegetables are essential to a balanced diet and to obtain needed energy. It is necessary to consume about 200 to 300 grams of carbohydrate in fruits and vegetables daily, about 5 pieces of fruit and 3 vegetables.
Refined sugar (white): This product is composed entirely of carbohydrates, is assimilated very quickly and provides immediate energy. However, white sugar is devoid of any nutritional value, in fact, is an energy "false" because it may look effective, however, hurts terribly nervous system (creates anxiety, nervousness, stress, irritability, etc.), and weakens the body's major organs, fermenting foods and creating alcohol in the body (enabling environments for the incubation and development of bacteria), among a long list of other things.
In short, white sugar is a carbohydrate that causes damage to health and becomes toxins (fat or overweight) in the body. This sugar is contained in many foods, soft drinks (sodas), candy, cakes, commercial sauces, etc.
The consumption of this sugar type should be avoided (referring to refined sugar) as its has a highly oxidizing activity, which accelerates aging and cell damage.
Derived from refined flour and bread: (pasta, pastries, cookies, etc) Bread has between 55% and 60% carbohydrate in composition. However, the grain being processed (refined) has no fiber and nutritional values, is practically an unnecessary product.
Foods that are classified as slow carbohydrate absorption:
These foods are made of complex carbon molecules. To be absorbed by the body, they should be digested before they are converted into simple sugars. Among these foods include: starch, glycogen and cellulose.
Whole grains: besides being carbohydrate-rich foods contain protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial for the functioning of the body and help prevent and eradicate a host of ailments. Arguably, if you like the best for your life, prefer this type of carbohydrate rather than those obtained by refined grains, which are very harmful to the body. You can prefer brown rice and unrefined grains like oats, wheat, barley, etc.
Plants and vegetables: are rich in carbohydrates, 60% of its dry weight consists of carbohydrates. They are rich in vegetable protein and are an important source of fiber. They have an amount of carbohydrates that varies depending on the vegetable. The red fruits like strawberries, blackberries or cherries are rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals of high quality.
Why is it bad to combine carbohydrates with proteins?
The combination of foods is the basis for good digestion and utilization of food. When proteins are consumed, the stomach secretes gastric acid at a given pH to digest. When carbohydrates are consumed, the stomach secretes gastric juice with a pH very different. By combining these two nutrients, the stomach has to deal very difficult to digest and make the most of it.
One must take into account that for the digestion of carbohydrates is needed healthy intestinal tract. Poor absorption of carbohydrates because of a disease or intestinal disorder, by drug abuse or malnutrition damage the lining of the small intestine, which causes the carbohydrate is not digested and pass well to the large intestine, where it produces osmotic diarrhea. Bacterial fermentation of these compounds produces large amounts of CO2 and H2, resulting, inter alia, abdominal cramps.
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