Monday, February 14, 2011

Eating to Survive - Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, whole grains
Carbohydrates are manufactured by plants and are a major source of energy in the diet and should should amount to around half of the total calories.
Carbohydrates are found in many forms; simple sugars like glucose (which is the basic sugar unit), fructose (found in fruits), complex carbohydrates such as lactose (found in milk) and cellulose (found in plants).

"Carbohydrates are one of three main nutrients in food, the others being fats and protein. There are three common types of carbs in foods: Sugar, Starch and Dietary fiber. Only sugar and starch is digested, as the human body lacks the digestive enzymes to break down (metabolize) dietary fiber in the intestinal tract."

"Sugar-carbs are found in a range of natural food, including milk (containing lactose, or milk sugar), fruits (containing fructose, or fruit sugar) and sugar beet (containing sucrose)."
"Starch-carbs are found in all cereal grains, as well as roots and tubers. Starchy foods include: bread, pasta, rice, noodles, couscous, tapioca, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams."
"Dietary fiber carbohydrates (soluble and insoluble fiber) are found in most plant foods, like fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grain cereals."
"Many foods contain a mixture of different types of carbohydrate. For example, many whole grain cereals and beans contain both starch and fiber (soluble and insoluble) 

What does this all mean, it means that these foods contain energy. Carbohydrates when broken down become energy for the body to use. There is no way of effectively eliminating carbohydrates from the diet, which is why a low carbohydrate diet is not effective.
Carbohydrates should make up the largest percentage of energy that we get from foods because this is the form in which the body uses energy most readily, especially our brain.
What is effective however is portion control. By using the guides given earlier in the Eating to Survive series you can see what a serving of each of these food groups are.

This series is slowly building towards showing you the reader how to organize a day's meal based on what you have and still meeting your daily requirements.

Did you enjoy this article? Please comment.


Vitamins Canada said...

We all need carbohydrates. Eating food rich in it can give us energy. Thanks for sharing that info.

Tanya said...

Your welcome, Vitamins Canada, Whole grains are the most beneficial sources of Carbohydrate due to their high fiber content.
Keep reading and tell a friend.