When it comes to modern day diets, carbohydrates are constantly looked at from a negative perspective. Why? Because people automatically assume they are the leading cause of fat gain, and a major reason why people can’t shed those pounds. But, in actual fact, the majority of people are unaware of exactly what carbohydrates are, and what purpose they serve. So, we thought we’d delve deep into the infamous macronutrient…
In a nutshell, carbohydrates are a wonderful source of energy which your body relies on to function properly. They work in conjunction with the other two macronutrients – proteins and fats. If you enjoy eating foods such as vegetables, fruits, potatoes, pasta or bread, then you’re consuming forms of carbohydrates. Of course, there are many more, but they all help aid towards a healthy system.
Now, carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, fibres and starches, which is where bad assumption comes from. You see, carbohydrates are necessary for energy, but carbs from sugary sources are not beneficial. So, if you’re consuming carbohydrates by eating tons of sweets, your body isn’t going to reap the rewards.
In addition, eating an excess amount of carbohydrates is also not a good idea. That’s because your body will only utilise as much carbohydrates for energy as it needs to. Let’s say you’re eating two-thousand calories per day, and a thousand of those are coming from carbohydrates. If you’re body doesn’t need a thousand calories worth of carbohydrates for energy, then it will store the remainder as fat throughout your body.
So, that’s when fat gain occurs, that’s when people slate carbohydrates and that’s when people cut them out of their diet. But, carbohydrates have more functions than just providing energy, they also help to prevent muscle breakdown, keep the brain working optimally and keep your metabolism at a normal level.
At this point, you should understand what carbohydrates are. However, there aren’t just one type of carb – there are simple carbs, and there are complex carbs. They’re both found in foods, but they supply fuel to your body at different intensities…
Simple carbohydrates contain one or two sugars, such as galactose, fructose, maltose or sucrose. They are absorbed by the body very quickly and will elevate your energy levels within minutes. Moreover, simple carbohydrates are also discovered in sweets, but these are often processed, which means they are empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever.
On the contrary, you have complex carbohydrates, which contain three of more types of sugars. These are found in things such as potatoes, pasta, corn, bread and cereal. With complex carbs, you’ll notice that they provide energy at a much slower rate, but they’ll ensure that you have energy for a longer period of time.
Ultimately, carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient which is vital for energy and overall good health. Although, it’s vital to remember to consume good carbohydrates, and not to over-consume them to avoid any significant weight or fat gain.