Carbohydrate

Connect
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 in
OK
 
  • Diets 
 
10 minutes of exercise a day
The Diet Calorie Counter

Carbohydrate




Your friends use sofeminine, discover what they have read
Like protein and fat, carbohydrate is a nutrient that provides our bodies with the energy they need. Here's everything you need to know about carbs.
 - Carbohydrate

Like protein and fat, carbohydrate is a nutrient that provides our bodies with the energy they need. Here's everything you need to know about carbs.






What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are better known simply as sugars, and are divided into two categories according to their chemical formulae:
-simple sugars are composed of either one type of molecule (glucose, fructose and galactose) or two types (sucrose, maltose and lactose).
-complex carbohydrates are starch-based molecules composed of several hundreds of glucose molecules.

For a long time, the two types of carbs were seen as opposites: simple sugars which cause blood sugar to peak, and complex carbs which are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. However, a new way of thinking has overturned this in recent years. We're talking GI, or glycaemix index. GI measures the speed at which carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed by the body, ie how high they raise your blood sugar levels. Glucose is the highest in the index, with a GI of 100. The higher the GI, the 'quicker' the carbohydrate; the lower the Gi, the 'slower' it is. Carbohydrates are the only nutrients that alter our blood sugar level when metabolised, and they're the only nutrients that can have a glycaemix index. Whatever the GI and sugar type, 1g carbohydrate = 4 kcal.

What do carbohydrates do?
Carbs are the essential fuel for the body and brain. Our muscles and liver are capable of stocking glucose (as glycogen), but only in small quantities. If you don't eat, the reserves in your liver will soon run out, and the reserves in your muscles will disappear in less than 24 hours. Without energy, your body has to break down protein (ie muscle) or fat reserves to get the energy it needs. Carbs provide the body with lasting energy, play a vital role in suppressing your appetite, give you energy and keep your mood up. If you want to lose weight, you shouldn't cut them out. Carbs aid your physical and mental capabilities and it goes without saying that they're vital for kids, students and athletes.

Sources of carbohydrate
Simple sugars are found in all sweet foods: sucrose and sweet foods (honey, jam, sugar, chocolate, biscuits, sweets and sweet drinks), fruit, green vegetables and dairy produce (except cheese). 100ml milk contains 4.6g carbohydrate, 100g apple contains 12g, 100g milk chocolate contains 50g and 100g jam contains 68g. Complex carbs are mainly found in grains, cereals, pulses and starch. 100g bread contains 44g carbohydrate, 100g rice contains 26g and 100g cooked lentils contains 13g. Many foods, such as biscuits and cakes, contain both types of carbphydrate, for example 100g cookies (57g carbohydrate), 100g rice pudding (20g) and 100g cake (47g).

How much carbohydrate do we need?

Carbs should make up 50-55% of our total daily calorie intake. We should take as many of them as possible from complex carbs and as little as possible from simple sugars.

Advice
Experts and official bodies agree that sugar is a major factor in weight gain. Sugars with a high glycaemix index are quickly absorbed by the body and easily stored as fat. They trigger a peak and then a sharp drop in insulin in the blood, bringing about sugar highs then lows, spells of fatigue and hunger. Carbs with a low GI help stabilise our weight because they don't bring about highs and lows in blood sugar, and they keep our appetite steady. We should aim to eat carbohydrates at every meal, choosing them with care! For breakfast, high-fibre bread, sugarfree cereal such as muesli with no added sugar, dairy produce and fruit are ideal; and at lunch and dinner, vegetable crudités, pulses, al dente or wholegrain pasta, rice, potatoes with the skin on, green vegetables, bread and fresh fruit are best. Try and limit your intake of very sugary foods like sweets, sugar and fizzy drinks.


Sarah Horrocks
18/03/2008 18:46:00
Rank this guide: 

Don't miss...
Healthy alternative food check list 2014 Best products to prevent a hangover
The hottest fitness trends for 2014 Biggest showbiz moments of 2013
Latest… 21/04/2014
Health and Fitness News
Guides
Videos
What To Eat Before Your Workout: 10 Snacks To Burn Fat, Energize And Tone
Increased Energy? Longer Lifespan? Everything You Need To know About The Ayurvedic Diet
The VIP Diet Treatment Every Girl Needs: Talk To A Nutritionist Live On Sofeminine.co.uk
Quit The Excuses! 50 Motivational Fitness Quotes To Get Your Ass Up And In Shape
All Health and Fitness news
The Weight Watchers diet
The Fricker method
The Mediterranean diet
The Pritikin diet
See all Health and Fitness guides
Zumba Party in Pink Zumbathon with Beto, Wyclef & Amy Childs
See all Health and Fitness videos
 

Don't miss out!

...Join our newsletter
Get the sofeminine latest straight to your inbox
  OK
Find us on...
         

Copyright © 1999-2014 soFeminine.co.uk
This week: Food & Drink Special : recipes from A to Z, by country, by duration, by type - Surnames - E-cards
Axel Springer Group: Idealo.co.uk