Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. They are the sugars, starches and fiber found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.
Consuming the proper amount of Carbohydrates has many benefits, including:
- They are the body’s main source of fuel.
- Prevent Protein from being used as a fuel source.
- They are easily used by the body for energy.
- All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
- They are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
- They can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
- Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grains & potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts. In the body, carbs break down into smaller units of sugar, such as glucose and fructose.
These small units get absorbed out of your digestive tract and into your bloodstream. This blood sugar, or blood glucose, is transported through your bloodstream to supply energy to your muscles and other tissues. This is an important process; in fact, we could say that of the different functions of carbohydrates, supplying energy to the body is the main role.
Most of your body cells use the simple carbohydrate glucose for energy, but your brain is particularly in need of glucose as an energy source. So,we can add that an important function of carbs is supplying energy to the brain.
If you have ever gone on a low-carb diet and felt like your brain was foggy for a few days, then you experienced just how important carbohydrates are to proper brain function.
Another function of carbohydrates is to prevent the breakdown of proteins for energy. By consuming sufficient amounts of carbohydrates in your diet, you ensure that your body can meet its energy needs, but if your intake of carbs is too low and you don’t have sufficient fat, then your body is forced to break down proteins for energy.
Fiber refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. These carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract intact and help to move waste out of the body. Diets that are low in fiber have been shown to cause problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids and to increase the risk for certain types of cancers such as colon cancer. Diets high in fiber; however, have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity, and they help lower cholesterol.
A good rule of thumb
Women – at least 30 – 35g per day
Men – at least 40 – 45g per day
Too much Carbs
Carbohydrates also affect fat metabolism.
If the body has enough energy (carbs) for its immediate needs, it stores the extra energy as fat.
Too Few Carbs
To access this stored energy, your body needs the working energy of carbohydrates. If your diet is deficient in carbohydrates, like if you’re trying a crash diet or a strict low-carb diet, then fat metabolism cannot proceed normally, and the result is the formation of ketones. Ketones are acidic molecules formed by partially broken-down fats. Ketones can be used by your body for energy, and they can even spare some protein from being broken down, but if too many ketones are present in the blood they lead to a condition called ketosis. This makes the blood acidic, which can hinder normal body processes …. shitty metabolism …. NOT BEING ABLE TO LOSE WEIGHT.