Carbohydrate foods are suppliers of fuel or energizing materials necessary for cell functioning. They are organic compounds derived from the process of photosynthesis. Carbohydrates are divisible into sugars and starches. Starches are converted to sugar during digestion. Sugars are cane, beet, honey and Demerara. Starches are cereals like wheat, rice and maize and vegetables like peas, beans, potatoes, and lentils.
The molecules chain of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen form carbohydrates also referred as saccharides. The body breaks down carbohydrates to generate fuel, store them as energy and use when required, has a role in defining the body DNA and RNA structure, and as cell structural components.
They are classified into simple and complex. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simple carbs. Glucose is a monosaccharide with a single sugar molecule. Fructose, lactose are disaccharides with two molecules. A unique feature is the dual molecules are linked by a glycosidic bond, which forms the base for complex carbs. Processed foods, honey, milk, refined sugar and most fruits are simple carbs. Complex are two types oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides contain less than 10 linked sugar molecules are short-chain. Polysaccharides or starches have greater than 10 or sometimes hundreds of linked sugar molecules. Citrus fruits, whole grain bread, cereals, vegetables are complex carbohydrates.
The body breaks down all carbohydrates, simple or complex to sugar for cellular functions. Simple is easy to break down due to less number of bonds and resulting in quick sugar absorption and dissipation from the blood stream. Complex need longer duration to break-down due to multiple bonds. It is compared to fuels that are slow burning and keep on generating energy even after hours of consuming food. A feeling of fullness for longer times due to extended digestion cycle, no blood sugar spikes, results in consumption of complex carbohydrates.
The primary fuel source for a body is carbohydrates. The break-down time is fast compared to proteins and fat. Benefits are maximized when complex carbs or nutrient-rich simple carbs, like fresh fruit, are consumed. Remember one thing, a calorie is a calorie and it can multiply due to proteins, carbs, or fat intake. It is a myth that intake of carbs piles on the calories. Do not fall into a trap of low or no-carb diet to cut weight. They are an absolute must for a healthy body. Make it a habit to have about 40 to 60 % of carbs in your diet. Have Carbohydrates the Nutritional Building Blocks and Generate Energy On-Demand.