What are Carbohydrates?

What Are Carbohydrates and why we need them?

We all need Carbohydrates – or carbs. It is our body's main source of energy.

The lack of carbohydrates lead to a feeling of weakness, fatigue and develop into ill health. Even when a certain diet requires the consuming lower amounts of carbs, a healthy level must be eaten because the macronutrient is also vital for processing fats and proteins.

Carbohydrates, or carbs, are one of three macronutrients –

What are Macronutrients?

Basically, macronutrients are just nutrients, the type of healthy foods our body needs most to give us the energy to get through the day.

So the 3 types of macronutrients we need are carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.

We also need micronutrients…

What are Micronutrients?

Vitamins and Mminerals which we only need small amounts of for normal physical functions that our bodies cannot produce on their own.

Once we eat carbs, our body can choose to either use it immediately in the form of glucose or store it in the liver and muscles as fat for later use.

The latter is one of the reasons why people trying to loss weight, reduce the amount of carbs in their meals and changes from simple to complex carbohydrates.

What are Simple Carbohydrates?

A what are carbohydrates breakdown into simple and complex carbs.

Let's start the healthy changes to your family's diet by significantly reducing the amount of simple carbs found in your food.

Basically, simple carbs are quickly digested and absorbed by the body. They give a quick burst of energy which doesn’t last. Complex Carbohydrates are slow releasing and give you longer periods of energy.

Simple carbs are found in fruits, vegetables, milk products and processed sugars added to foods during manufacturing. These carbs provide little nutrition compared to complex carbs. Simple carbs can increases the risks of diabetes.

When you’re buying manufactured ready meals or other packaged foods or making family meals, avoiding these ingredients:

These are all types of sugars

• White refined sugar

• Corn sweetener and corn syrup

• Dextrose

, Fructose and glucose

• Lactose, maltose, and sucrose

• Malt syrup & fruit juice concentrates

You are probably thinking that you need to eliminate all simple carbohydrates offered at your local supermarket. Not at all.

Just make sure you understand which foods contain too many bad sugars, fats, E numbers, preservatives etc.

Make the fresh fruit and vegetable aisles you first port of call.

Learn how to read food labels...

Learn how to read the nutrition food labels. So you can identify the unhealthy simple sugars.

Some smart healthy choices are listed here:

• Drink water instead of sodas and fruit drinks

• Make fruit juices and healthy smotties from fresh fruit and vegetables.

• Eat fresh fruit for snack instead of the processed desserts filled with sugar

• Choose whole grain breakfast cereals with little to no added sugars –

read the labels!

Take simple slow – one step at a time strides. You can make healthy changes in the family's diet. It takes time to make any significant changes to you life.

Adjust one thing at a time. Soon, you and your family will feel and look healthier because you chose the better for you complex.

What are Complex Carbohydrates?

Unlike simple carbs, complex carbs are not easily digested and absorbed by the body.

As a result, the body is provided with a slow but stable source of energy throughout the day with the added benefit of complex carbohydrates offering more nutritional value. Making you less hungry between meals.

There are two types of complex carbohydrates – dietary starch and dietary fiber.

Dietary starch is found in plants, especially in their roots and seeds.

Food sources include;

  • wheat
  • corn
  • rice
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • squash
  • peas and dry beans

Carbohydrates known as dietary fiber are found in fruits and leafy green vegetables.

Soluble dietary fiber include oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds and most fruits while insoluble dietary fiber include whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice, couscous, bulgur, wheat bran, and most vegetables.

Approximately 25-30 grams of dietary fiber is recommended

The best way for us to get all the carbohydrates we need is to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grain cereals. This way we get all the macronutrients and micronutrients necessary to stay mentally and physically healthy.

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