Building blocks for energy – CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE
When you start talking about carbohydrates, you have to think of the body as a chemical processing plant. Numerous chemicals and compounds are taken in, processed, and broken down through various types of reactions for absorption and energy, and then distributed throughout the body for immediate use or stored for later use.
Carbohydrates are the most common energy source for the human body. Chemically broken down, it is made up of organic molecules in which carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are joined together. Plants (potato, rice, corn, etc.) make carbohydrates during photosynthesis. (This is the process in which the plant collects energy from sunlight.) The body breaks down these carbohydrates during the metabolism process, to release this precious energy.
The modern food production process has changed the way we consume it, along with the modern knowledge we now have about food and nutrients. No more rice, potatoes, and red meat (as my grandmother used to cook every day), but a more nutritious variety of salad and vegetables, protein (red meat, chicken, fish, etc.), and carbohydrates.
High or low carb?
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple (monosaccharides) and complex (polysaccharides). Simple carbohydrates can be found in fruits, dairy products, processed and refined foods (such as white sugar, white bread, pasta, etc.). These carbohydrates are easier for the body to digest.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and can be found in vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, etc. The refining process of some foods such as rice removes some of the fiber and nutrients from the grain. A bowl of whole grains will fill you up faster and keep you energized longer than a bowl of sugar-filled grains, due to the way the body processes and uses carbohydrates.
When it comes to diets, there isn’t much of a difference in the long run between a low carb diet and a low fat diet. Rather choose healthy, energy-sustaining carbohydrate sources to add to your diet. I eat whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables and avoid sweetened foods with high sugar content. Nano 350 Weight Management also helps the body control blood sugar levels and distributes energy intake more evenly, which in turn suppresses appetite.
What does the body do with carbohydrates?
The liver digests carbohydrates by breaking them down into simple sugars like glucose, which stimulates insulin production in the pancreas. Insulin’s job is to bring sugar into the body’s cells to use for energy. The two different types of carbohydrates affect insulin production differently. Simple carbohydrates raise insulin levels faster and energy is used faster (sugar or energy rush). While complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, resulting in longer lasting energy and a lower insulin reaction in the body.
When the body produces too much glucose, it is stored in the liver and muscles for later use. This is called glycogen and is used for short bursts of energy when the body needs it. Leftover or unused glycogen is stored as fat. During prolonged periods of exercise (such as a strenuous workout or long-distance run), the body draws on its fat stores for additional energy, thereby burning unwanted fat.
What type of carbohydrate is best for me?
Like anything and everything we choose to add to our daily diet, it should be in moderation. The body needs certain amounts of carbohydrates to function properly. Insufficient intake can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps and lack of concentration. Although carbohydrates are an important part of our diet, the body can produce energy from stored fat and protein. While this is only recommended for short periods of time, avoiding all carbohydrates will negatively affect your health. Low-carb diets have been touted as healthy, but if taken to an extreme, they can be dangerous to your overall well-being. Remember that low carb does not mean “no carbs.” Be sure to eat moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates to keep your body’s fuel levels constant.