Carbohydrates Health Benefits & Facts

Health-conscious people know what is carbohydrate and its importance for our body. So here we are going to talk about:

  • What is Carbohydrate?
  • Carbohydrates health benefits
  • Carbohydrates facts
  • Carbohydrate sources
  • Carbohydrates and diabetes
  • Carbohydrate and weightloss

What is Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate is a biological molecule get produced by the organism. It is made of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Anyway, let us not get too technical here.

The major classes of biological molecules needed by the human body are:

  • Carbohydrate
  • Proteins
  • Nucleotides
  • Lipids

Carbohydrates, in short, referred to as carbs. Our body sources the energy mainly from carbohydrates for various body functions. It plays several roles in our body. The main role is energy transportation.

In layman, language carbs are sugars, starch and fiber found in various foods.

When consuming sugars and starches in various forms of food, our system breaks them into glucose to feed the cells.

Types of Carbohydrates

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbs are glucose and sucrose. The food that has higher sugar content. Faster to metabolized in our body. Knowingly or unknowingly people use simple carbohydrates to get quick energy.

Simple carbohydrates foods are mainly; whitebread, syrups, candy or soda. The intake of simple carbohydrates sharply increases the sugar level in the blood.

This energy does not last for long. Also, it does not contain valuable nutrients needed for the body. Thus it is called empty calories. Empty calories mean no vitamins, minerals or fiber in it.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates take a longer time to digest into our system. These contain high starches and fiber.

This main source of energy for the body is derived from the complex carbohydrates.

So, in general, if we talk about carbohydrates means it is about the complex carbohydrates only. So below we will be talking only of complex carbohydrates.

What foods are high in carbohydrates?

The great sources of carbohydrates food are vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

List of Healthy carbohydrates rich food

High-Carb Vegetables - Sweet potatoes, beetroots, corn, kidney beans, yams, peas, and carrots

High-Carb Grains - Quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, amaranth, barley, pasta (spaghetti) and cereals

High-Carb Fruits - Bananas, Apples, Mangos, Oranges, Blueberries, Grapefruit, melons, pears, and kiwifruit

High-Carb in Legumes - black beans, pinto beans, lentils, navy beans, chickpeas, and soybeans

High Carb in Milk products - plain yogurt, low-fat milk, and soy yogurt

How many carbohydrates an average person needs?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie requirements are from carbohydrates.

For a 2000 calorie diet, about 900 to 1300 calories have to be from the carbohydrates. Every gram of carbohydrate consists of 4 calories. Thus your intake is calculated to have about 225 grams to 325 grams of carbs a day.

Use the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator to find out for your calorie intake based on your gender, age, height, and weight.

Carbohydrates Health Benefits

As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates are vital for your health and body functions.

1. Carbohydrate is the source of energy

The carbohydrates are the prime source of energy for the body. The digestion process breaks down the carbs types of sugars and starches. It breaks into simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, and lactose. Thereafter, the simple sugars get absorbed into our blood. Glucose in the blood is called blood sugar.

Glucose is the one used for the energy in our cells. It could be for a heavy physical activity like running or even lighter activity as breathing.

Unused and excess glucose is stored in our liver, muscles, and other cells. This stored glucose put into use later or converted into fat in our body.

2. Carbohydrate protects against diseases

The fiber side of the carbohydrates helps in reducing cardiovascular diseases. It also protects conditions like weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. On top of that fibre supports healthy digestion. On top of that fibre supports healthy digestion.

3. Carbohydrates control weight gain

There are studies that diet with wholegrain, fruits, and vegetables assist in controlling weight. The presence of high fiber makes one feel full. Thus, it will help in eating less food by which the intake of more calories is restricted.

4. Carbohydrates and diabetes

The amount of carbohydrates you eat has a direct effect on your blood sugar level. Therefore people with diabetes conditions are advised to have a count of carb intake. So that sugar level in the blood can be maintained.

Read the article on natural herbs for diabetes Type 2 for further help on natural remedies.

So know the carb count given above and eat accordingly. Your good choice is to eat few or no carbs food depending on your diabetes condition.

Foods with no carbohydrates are fish, meat, poultry, nuts and certain types of cheese. You can check for a detailed carb counts in the American Diabetes Association.

5. Carbohydrates and weight loss

Low carbohydrates diet is recommended for losing weight.

Just a small calculation is you need to have a 45 to 65 percent intake of carbohydrates per day. This is as per the American dietary guidelines.

In your 2000 calorie diet, you have to target 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day. For you to lose weight you have to eat about 150 grams of carbohydrates. This will produce quicker results in losing weight.

However, a highly recommended method to lose weight is a low carb diet. This diet has better control over the consumption of carb mainly sugar and starches. In other words, you have to avoid foods like pasta and bread. Focusing on more intake of protein and healthy vegetables. This way excess calorie intake is restricted.

This is a healthy way of losing weight. It will help lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and bad cholesterols in your blood in a proper manner. Sametime, increase the good cholesterol levels in your blood.

How many carbohydrates are there various types of food?

Many people wanted to know how many carbohydrates are in different types of food. Here is a table with a list most used carbohydrate food and the level of carbohydrates in grams.

TypeFoodSizeWeight
FruitBananaMedium 7 to 8 inches long118g
FruitAvocados1 cup sliced146g
FruitStrawberries1 medium 1 ¼ inches dia12g
FruitWatermelon1 NLEA serving280g
FruitBlueberries1 cup (148g)21g
EggsChicken EggLarge boiled egg50g
VegetableTomatoSmall 100g3.9g
VegetablePopcorn1 oz (28.4g)21g
VegetableSweet potato1 cup cubes (133g)27g
VegetableBeetroot1 cup (136g)13g
VegetableKidney beans1 cup (184g)100g
VegetablePeas1 cup (145g)21g
VegetableCarrot1 medium (61g)6g
GrainsQuinoa1 cup (185g)39g
GrainsRice white, long-grain1 cup (158g)45g
GrainsRice brown long, cooked1 cup (195g)45g
GrainsOatmeal1 cup cooked (234g)27g
GrainsCereal1 cup (81g)55g
WheatSpaghetti1 cup (140g)43g
DietaryMilk 1% fat1 cup (244g)12g
BreadWhite Bread1 slice14g
BreadWhole wheat bread1 slice17g
BreadFlour tortilla10 inch36g
BreadBagel3 inch29g
BeverageBeer1 can (356g)13g
LegumesLentils boiled1 tablespoon (12g)2.5g
LegumesBlack beans½ a cup (130g)20g

Choosing the right carbohydrates for your diet

Always opt for whole grains food. The fiber and nutrients are lost in refined grains. That is the reason whole grains are preferred over refined grains.

Focus on fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. When you buy, choose whole vegetables and fruits. It can be frozen or canned with no sugar added. You can take fruits in the form of dried or juices as well. When you choose fiber-rich fruits and vegetables you feel full with fewer calories intake.

Intake of more legumes. Legumes are peas, beans, and lentils. These are the most nutritious food among all. Low fat but rich in potassium, magnesium, and iron. It contains protein, good fat, and fiber. Because of protein content, it is a good substitute for meat. Meat contains saturated fat and cholesterol which is not good for health.

Consume low-fat milk products. Avoid sugar add milk products. Milk products are rich in calcium, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Low fat means less saturated fat, limiting your calorie intake.

How do carbohydrates impact your health?

The positive or negative effects on our health depend on what we eat and drink every day. Too many carbohydrates cause insulin resistance. It is the major contributor to diseases like cardiovascular and Type 2 Diabetes. Listen to Richard J. Wood, the TED Educator below

Listen to Richard J. Wood, the TED Educator who explains what are carbs and effects to our bodies.

FAQ

Is Carbohydrate sugar?

Yes very much. They are made up of simple sugars but are in the form of starches and fiber. The starches and fiber get broken into simple sugars at digestion. Then absorbed into the blood. The syrup made from corn is directly in the form of simple sugar (glucose).

Why carbohydrates are important?

Yes, it is very important for the body to function properly. Because carbohydrate is the main source of energy for our body.

Are carbohydrates are bad?

It is considered bad for two reasons. A high intake of carbohydrates leads to weight gain. Secondly, those with diabetes condition should monitor their carbohydrate intake to control the sugar levels in the blood.

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