Questions related to carbohydrates are very controversial these days. Nutritionists’ recommendations say that about half of our calories come from carbohydrate foods. On the other hand, we hear that carbohydrates cause obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that most of us should avoid them. Weighty arguments are present on both sides, which suggests that the need for carbohydrates is individual for everyone. In the article, we will dwell in detail on the classification of carbohydrates, as well as consider their usefulness. Carbohydrates, or carbohydrates, are molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. In dietetics, carbohydrates are part of macronutrients, along with proteins and fats. Dietary carbohydrates fall into three main categories:
- Sugar: Sweet, short chain carbohydrates. For example, glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.
- Starch: Long chain carbohydrates that are converted to glucose in the digestive system.
- Fiber: The human body does not absorb fiber, but it is essential for a “good” gut microflora.
The main task of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy. Most of them are converted into glucose, which is used as energy. In addition, carbohydrates can be converted to fat (energy storage) for later use. Fiber is an exception: it does not directly provide energy, but “feeds” the friendly intestinal microflora. Using fiber, these bacteria produce fatty acids.
- Polyalcohols are also classified as carbohydrates. They have a sweet taste, do not contain many calories.
Whole carbohydrates are natural fiber and include vegetables, fruits, legumes, potatoes, and whole grains. Refined carbohydrates are processed carbohydrates that lack fiber: sweetened sugary drinks, fruit juices, baked goods, white rice, white bread, pasta, and more. As a rule, refined foods cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which makes you crave carbohydrate foods even more. So, whole carbohydrate sources provide the body with nutrients and fiber without causing spikes and drops in blood sugar. Vegetables. It is recommended to use them daily, in various variations. Fruit. Apples, bananas, berries and others. beans. Lentils, beans, peas and others. Nuts: Almond, walnut, macadamia, peanut, etc. whole grains: quinoa, brown rice, oats. Sweet drinks: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc. Sealed fruit juices: Unfortunately, they contain a large amount of refined sugar, which has a similar effect to sweetened drinks. White bread: contains extremely few nutrients and negatively affects metabolic processes. And also ice cream, cakes, chocolate, french fries, chips … It is difficult to give one general advice, a recommendation on the amount of carbohydrate intake. The norm for each depends on many factors, such as age, gender, metabolic state, physical activity, personal preferences. Individuals with overweight problems, type 2 diabetes are sensitive to carbohydrates, and reducing their intake will show significant benefits.