Importance of carbs

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Sweet, Sweet Carbs

Carbohydrate is a fancy way of saying "sugar." Scientists came up with the name because the molecule have many carbon(C) atoms bonded to hydroxide (OH-) groups. Carbohydrates can be very small or very large molecules, but they are still considered sugars. Plants can create long chains of these molecules for food storage or structural reasons.

BASICALLY

Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods—bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie. They also come in a variety of forms. The most common and abundant forms are sugars, fibers, and starches.

Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. But carbohydrate quality is important; some types of carbohydrate-rich foods are better than others:

  • The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
  • Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Types of Carbohydrates

What are the types of carbohydrates?

There are two main types of carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Simple carbohydrates

Carbohydrates for Physical Training

Carbohydrates for Physical Training

Are you an athlete looking to optimize your athletic performance? Or, are you an active individual who would like more energy and stamina when working out? Nutrition is typically the missing link to reaching your full athletic potential. Properly fueling and refueling your body is essential to achieving your fitness goals.

Carbohydrates play a number of important roles in your body. They are readily stored in your muscles for energy and they enable most of the protein you consume to be used for tissue synthesis (such as muscle building) rather than fuel. Additionally, carbohydrates are required for your body to continually produce energy during physical activity.

Carbohydrates for Mental Training

Carbohydrates for Mental Training

Unlike muscle glycogen stores, liver glycogen stores are required for "brain food." Liver glycogen is converted to glucose (energy) in the liver and released into the bloodstream to maintain a normal blood sugar level.

Healthy and Unhealthy

  • The healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.
  • Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Carbs in the Body

Carbohydrates in the Body

All living cells contain glucose. For glucose to enter the cells it needs help from a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as gatekeeper and is released once carbohydrate is ingested. It signals the cells to absorb the glucose. The glucose is then used for energy, stored in the liver and the muscles as glycogen, or stored as fat.

Bad and Good

“Bad” carbs are those that: 1) contain fuel your body can’t currently use; 2) abruptly spike and drop your blood-glucose levels and/or leave you craving more; or 3) come packaged with an excess of fats (particularly trans fats) and sugars.

“Ugly” carbs are really just “Bad” carbs that you find addicting and tend to eat in excess, or that you eat to the exclusion of healthier foods (e.g., you grab that bag of chips or crackers instead of a bowl of salad, soup or other real grub).