Carbohydrates - Food Sources And Low Carbohydrates Diet
Carbohydrates are so called because they ordinarily contain carbon, with oxygen and hydrogen in the same proportion as in water. They are utilized as fuel by the human body and constitute the most vital source of energy for the nervous tissues. Carbohydrates are the cheapest and most important source of energy for the vast majority of people in the tropics.
Carbohydrates come in two basic forms: complex and simple. Simple carbohydrates are one, two, or at most three units of sugar linked together in single molecules. Complex carbohydrates are hundreds or thousands of sugar units linked together in single molecules. Simple sugars are easily identified by their taste: sweet. Complex carbs, such as potatoes, are pleasant to the taste buds, but not sweet.
Function of Carbohydrates
The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. Your liver breaks down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), which is used for energy by the body.
Low Carbohydrates Diets
Low carb diets are based on the premise that a diet very low in carbohydrate leads to a reduction in the body's insulin production, resulting in fat and protein (muscle) stores being used as its main energy source.
Carbohydrates are interchangeable with fats for energy requirements. Humans, like most mammals, convert amino acids of proteins and glycerol of fats to glucose. Consequently, there are nospecific dietary recommendations for carbohydrate, provided adequate calories are supplied. However, a person taking a low-calorie diet requires a minimum of about 50-75 g a day of carbohydrate to prevent ketosis.
Reduction of carbohydrate intake to 200 g a day improves chronic respiratory failure; reduction to 50 g a day gives additional benefit.
Vitamins B complex and Carbohydrate metabolism
Vitamins of the B group take part in the metabolism of carbohydrates at various stages. Carbohydrates increase the demand for the B vitamins. Nature has combined vitamin B with carbohydrates in most grains and plants. Modern methods of food refining, such as polishing rice, lead to vitamin B deficiency and impaired metabolism of carbohydrates. It is advisable to administer vitamin B-complex whenever a glucose injection is given.
Simple carbohydrates, also called simple sugars, are found in processed and refined sugars including table sugar, honey and candy, and in fruits, vegetables, and milk products. Simple carbohydrates are more easily digested by the body than complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates, which are basically long chains of simple carbohydrates, are combinations of starch and fiber. Any food with starch contains complex carbohydrates: Examples are bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
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