When the car is out of fuel, would it run from one point to another? Simple answer is NO. The same is with our bodies. It needs fuel to run or else it wouldn’t. The fuel here we are talking about would be carbohydrates. With carbohydrates, the body and the brain gets most of the energy needed. If the intake of the same isn’t apt and adequate, metabolism isn’t achieved on a healthy note.
In this post we would want to tell you more about the importance of carbohydrates in our daily meal- how it helps the body, how it helps the mind, how it helps us overall to stay healthy. Please read on and be well-informed.
Carbohydrates can be found in various fruits, foods, meats and seafood, which you can relish and have. This helps us understand what to eat, so that the right amount and the right types of carbs come into our bodies. But before that, let’s check on the importance or the functions of carbohydrates.
How Are Carbohydrates Digested
While you enjoy your daily three meals, the carb amount from the meals you eat are digested. The enzymes in the body break the meal down into very small units- sugars. From here, the small units are taken out of the digestive system and they enter your bloodstream. This is blood sugar which your doctors ask you to control. Also known as glucose in the bloodstream, it is this glucose that energises the body, the tissues and the muscles we have. Such an important process works round the clock and is important for our bodies, or else the system would break down overtime.
What Happens With Lack Of Carbohydrates?
With carbohydrate deficiency, there are many things that would happen to the body. Everything has to be consumed in moderation; neither too much, nor neither too less. There are many causes of carbohydrate deficiency diseases, which we shall now talk about. But first let us understand the causes for the same.
Despite having a balanced diet according to the body’s needs, there can be a shortfall of carbohydrates. One of the main reasons for this could be crash dieting for weight loss. This could result in a nil carb diet. While you will definitely lose the inches, the body will not be able to resist the cravings for the amount of carbs it needs per day. Thus, you will start to go back to unhealthy eating habits; gain those inches back and as time goes on there will be many carbohydrate deficiency disease manifestations happening.
What exactly happens is that the carbs you consume are broken down by the enzymes into monosaccharises or fructose and glucose, which goes into your bloodstream from your digestive system- the normal way of how it happens, before the body gets fuel for energy. The excess is stored in the liver as glycogen for future use; when needed ahead, it would convert into glucose by being broken down.
When you crash diet, it leads to deficiency of carbohydrates in your food intake. Thus, the liver can’t have excess stored as glycogen, since there is almost no carbohydrates going in daily.
It is then that the fats and the amino acids in the body will be used to make fuel and energy for the body, instead of carbohydrates. As a result of which leads to loss of cellular proteins, lack of energy and it also various severe issues- ketosis for example. And all of this happens because of a shortfall of carbohydrate intake in the body.
Carbohydrate Deficiency Symptoms In The Body
Let’s now look at the many symptoms of carbohydrate deficiency, which happens to many people across the globe due to a shortage of carb intake in their daily healthy meals. Some of them are-
- Muscles atrophy
- Muscle tissue loss
Other Manifestations Would Be
- Low energy levels
- Muscle waste
- Loss of weight unhealthily
- Weakening of the immune system
- Mood swings
Now that we know what are the causes and symptoms of carbohydrate deficiency, let’s be aware of how important it is to have carbohydrates in the body. But first, we shall introduce you to a range or types of carbohydrates available around.
Different Types Of Carbohydrates
There are actually three types of carbohydrates our bodies need the most. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Simple Carbohydrates
From fruit juices to sugars and honey, simple carbohydrates are consumed almost every day. The molecular structure of simple carbohydrates are made up of one or maybe two sugar molecules, which is good for the body. In medical science, glucose is known to be the simplest form of simple carbs. Remember these three labels under this category.
- Sucrose Found in Table Sugar
- Fructose Found in Fruits
- Lactose Found in Milk
These are all simple carbs which when consumed in moderation is perfect and very healthy for the body. So if sugars are not bad for the body, why are we told to leave it and opt for other natural sugars to lose weight? Good question?
Refer back to the lines above where we spoke about good and bad carbs, and about everything in moderation- if you eat and sit around, the body only stores the carbs and converts it into glycogen in the liver or fat in the body, since excess isn’t needed now, because the body has enough of fuel it needs. But when you work out, you are burning out the fat and the sugars stand no chance to retain, but give the body the energy it needs. With that being said, let’s come to the second form of carbohydrates, complex carbs.
2. Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbs are found in whole grains and rice, pasta too; don’t we just love these three the most? But there are sugars in these three as well, and they are strung together to form long chains with plenty of complexities in each of them. From whole grains to the green peas, beans etc, you would find sugars in them, along with minerals and even a good amount of fibre as well. Sounds good for the body, doesn’t it? Well yes it is, but the problem here is that the complex carb family are refined. This means, they have undergone processing and the high fibre parts are removed; complex structure is lost and hence the healthy tag on it is lost too. The food grain or the veggie in question when refined turns into a simple carbohydrate thereafter. As much as we say don’t have white sugars, we would also say stay away from white bread, white pasta, white grains and white flour too. What your body really needs would be unrefined complex carbs, such as whole grains that are high in fibre. Fibre helps push the waste out of the colon and the intestine, and helps with easy bowel movements too.
3. Complex Fibrous Carbohydrates
Complex fibrous carbohydrates are found in many veggies. They also have a lot of phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins in them, along with high nutrient value as well; the greener the better. This is why we ask you to have plenty of salads and leafy greens in your diet. Power houses of fibre too, complex fibrous carbs help with colon cleansing since they aren’t absorbed by the digestive tract. The calorie level with such foods is very low, which means you wouldn’t put on unhealthy weight when you eat them in moderation as well.
Follow This Thumb Rule
With carbohydrate intake, here is a thumb rule you need to follow;
- Brown is good- whole wheat breads for example or sweet potatoes. You can have brown rice too
- White is not good- white breads, white potatoes and pasta and even rice, are not advisable to eat
Different Types Of Food Rich In Carbohydrates
Here is a list of foods high in carbohydrates, fruits, veggies, meats and seafood which have high and low carbohydrate levels to help you understand what you should be eating to moderate the carbohydrate intake.
Fruits Rich In Carbohydrates
|Apples||100 Gram||14 g|
|Pears||100 Gram||15 g|
|Bananas||100 Gram||23 g|
|Grapes||100 Gram||17 g|
|Dates||100 Gram||75 g|
|Almonds||100 Gram||22 g|
|Raisins||100 Gram||79 g|
Fruits With Low Carbohydrates
- Honeydew are low in carbohydrates
Vegetables With High Carbohydrates
Thumb rule here, if there is a lot of starch in the food, you should avoid it! Thus, foods with high fibrous starch carbohydrates would be
- Legumes, to name a few.
Vegetables With Low Carbohydrates
- Bell Peppers
- Cauliflower, to name a few!
Meat With Carbohydrates
- Chicken breast
- Pork tenderloins are rich in carbohydrates and should be eaten moderately
Seafoods Rich In Carbohydrates
- Shrimp, to name a few are rich in carbs
Seafoods Low In Carbs Are
Did You Know?
- Our body cells are in a billion range and they all use simple carbohydrate glucose, which is energy for the body or the prime energy source for the body.
- The same glucose is the reason why our brains work round the clock when we are awake- helps fuel the brain too.
- Brain fog happens when the amount of carb intake isn’t sufficiently consumed. This is why we feel blur in the head, when important work needs to be done.
- Moreover, proteins in the body aren’t easily digested. For example, if you have an egg a day, it needs to be digested or else the body wouldn’t know what to benefit from it- carbs help neutralise the same without allowing it to completely break down.
- Fat metabolism has to happen or else we would gather unhealthy weight. Carbohydrates can help you with that, and provides the body with the fuel burnt from the fat in question. Whatever is excess, would be stored as energy or fat.
- The excess stored fat energy needs to be accessed by the body, which is why you cannot afford a deficiency of carbohydrate intake. Crash diets thus are not allowed; metabolism doesn’t work at its best when you go for insta or crash diets.
We hope this mini guide on the understanding of carbohydrates comes in handy for your daily eating and lifestyle?
Disclaimer: This post on carbohydrates is purely for information purposes and doesn’t precede what an expert nutritionist, dietician or your family doctor would advise upon. Please remember, your specialists words would be highly regarded over your personal health and diet, over what is written here and elsewhere on the net.
Stay healthy and happy!