Health-conscious people know what are carbohydrates and how importance to our bodies?. 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:
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 bodies. 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. Fiber type carbs are unbreakable by our digestive system. Therefore our body cannot digest this type of carbohydrate.
Types of Carbohydrates
Carbs are of two types. Simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Glucose and sucrose are the simple carbs. 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.
Simple carbohydrates foods are mainly, whitebread, syrups, candy or soda.
Better be aware that consuming simple carbohydrates increases your blood sugar level sharply.
Complex carbohydrates take a longer time to digest into our system. These carbs are high in 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 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 and Facts
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.
The glucose level in the blood only referred to as blood sugar level. A familiar term mainly in relation to diabetes.
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 fiber supports healthy digestion. On top of that fiber 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.
The Healthy Way of Losing Weight
The highly recommended method to lose weight is eating 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.
Low carb fiber-rich food reduces the appetite for eating more is another good reason fast track losing weight.
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.
|Fruit||Banana||Medium 7 to 8 inches long||118g|
|Fruit||Avocados||1 cup sliced||146g|
|Fruit||Strawberries||1 medium 1 ¼ inches dia||12g|
|Fruit||Watermelon||1 NLEA serving||280g|
|Fruit||Blueberries||1 cup (148g)||21g|
|Eggs||Chicken Egg||Large boiled egg||50g|
|Vegetable||Popcorn||1 oz (28.4g)||21g|
|Vegetable||Sweet potato||1 cup cubes (133g)||27g|
|Vegetable||Beetroot||1 cup (136g)||13g|
|Vegetable||Kidney beans||1 cup (184g)||100g|
|Vegetable||Peas||1 cup (145g)||21g|
|Vegetable||Carrot||1 medium (61g)||6g|
|Grains||Quinoa||1 cup (185g)||39g|
|Grains||Rice white, long-grain||1 cup (158g)||45g|
|Grains||Rice brown long, cooked||1 cup (195g)||45g|
|Grains||Oatmeal||1 cup cooked (234g)||27g|
|Grains||Cereal||1 cup (81g)||55g|
|Wheat||Spaghetti||1 cup (140g)||43g|
|Dietary||Milk 1% fat||1 cup (244g)||12g|
|Bread||White Bread||1 slice||14g|
|Bread||Whole wheat bread||1 slice||17g|
|Bread||Flour tortilla||10 inch||36g|
|Beverage||Beer||1 can (356g)||13g|
|Legumes||Lentils boiled||1 tablespoon (12g)||2.5g|
|Legumes||Black beans||½ 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
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).
Yes, it is very important for the body to function properly. Because carbohydrate is the main source of energy for our body.
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.
It is difficult to define how many carbs is a low carbs diet. Low carbs diet may vary from person to person. Low carbs diet is used for faster weight loss purposes. Each person's requirement of carbs is depending on the BMR or how many calories he or she needed every day. It is based on the age, height, weight and the physical activities of a person.
If a person needs 2000 calories of energy every day he or she should target to have about an average of 250 grams of carbs.
If such a person wants to lose weight then plan to have a low carb diet which is less than 250 grams of carbs intake. About the intake of 75 to 150 grams of carbs a day. This is one faster way to lose weight.
Low carbs diet has other health benefits such as raising good cholesterol and lowering triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Triglycerides are bad cholesterol. (1,2)