THE FIRST ENERGY GENERATOR: CARBOHYDRATE

Apart from fats and proteins, carbohydrates play a very important role in providing energy to the body. They mainly deliver energy to the brain. The least of it is that half of the calorie intake needed for a day should come from carbohydrates. They are mainly present in foods of plant origin such as pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables but also in certain food sources of animal origin such as milk.

It all depends on the composition as well as the effect on a person’s metabolism, there are different kinds of carbohydrates: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are easily and quickly processed by the body and flow directly into the blood. They constantly produce and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

 

THE MONOSACCHARIDES

Monosaccharides, or oses, are the simplest carbohydrates and are not hydrolyzable. There are two types: aldoses and ketosis. They are also distinguished according to the number of carbon atoms in their chemical structure, such as trioses, pentoses and hexoses. The main monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and mannose. They all have the same chemical formula (Cn (H2O) n), but different in configuration.

When it comes to monosaccharides, they are not made up of just one sugar molecule, for example glucose and fructose. Glucose causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly and provides an instant source of energy. Fruits, honey and sweets contain it.

 

  • Sucrose  

 

It is a white solid, crystallized in the anhydrous state and very soluble in water. Widespread in the plant kingdom, sucrose is abundant in the beet root and the cane stalk.

 

  • Maltose  

 

It is a sparse disaccharide in the free state. It exists in malt where it results from the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch.

 

  • Lactose  

 

Soluble in water, lactose is found in the milk of mammals (4 to 5% in cow’s milk and 5 to 7% in female milk).

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THE DISACCHARIDES

Disaccharides are formed by the combination of 2 monosaccharides during a synthesis reaction. Made up of two sugar molecules, for example (milk sugar) cane sugar, beet sugar and food sugar, this glycosidic bond results from the union of two hydroxyl groups with the loss of a water molecule. Dairy products, sugary foods such as chocolate, jam and cookies have a high amount of monosaccharides and disaccharides. The most important, of formula C12H22O11, are sucrose, maltose and lactose.

 

THE POLYSACCHARIDES

These are the polymerization products of glucose which are represented by starch, glycogen and cellulose. They are also called complex carbohydrates, because they are made up of at least 10 molecules. Being dissolved more slowly, they promote a slower rise in blood sugar levels and prolong the feeling of fullness. Polysaccharides should therefore make up the majority of the carbohydrates that a person consumes.

 

They are more present in oatmeal, rice and potatoes. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Dietary fibers which are also in complete products and are in a particular form. For a healthy stomach and intestines, dietary fiber helps digestion.

 

If a person practices an intensive sporting activity, his body obviously needs a little high carbohydrate level. This case results from the fact that the organism needs energy to provide efforts. Carbohydrates are the ones that provide energy as well as power in the person. However, before participating in competitions, or during heavy stress or after intensive training, it is recommended to take a diet rich in carbohydrates to regenerate your full energy again.

 

THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF CARBOHYDRATES, ESPECIALLY AT THE LEVEL OF FAT

If a person’s nutrition gives them more carbohydrate intake than they burn, the muscles store the remaining sugar as glycogen. Thus, the body can draw on this reserve of energy when it needs it even more and the person does not absorb it through its nutrition.

 

In the event that the glycogen stores in the muscles are always full because an individual consumes too many carbohydrates, the extra energy turns into fat and that causes the person to gain weight.

 

An excessive intake of carbohydrates (especially refined sugars) has been shown to have harmful effects, in particular by increasing the risk of dental caries, certain types of cancer, overweight and obesity and high blood triglyceride levels. In the long term, excess sugar can cause hyperinsulinism and then type 2 diabetes.

 

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WHEN TO CONSUME CARBOHYDRATES AND IN WHAT QUANTITIES?

To easily lose weight, it is advisable to keep a low carbohydrate diet. It is better to replace high calorie carbohydrates with high nutrient protein. When a person consumes carbohydrates, it is fairer not to focus too much on monosaccharides and disaccharides in favor of complex carbohydrates.

 

Carbohydrate requirements are based on the average minimum amount used by the brain. There is no maximum tolerable intake of carbohydrates because scientific data is insufficient. On the other hand, it is advisable to limit the intake of added sugar to less than 15g per day because beyond this amount, individuals tend to consume fewer essential nutrients. In addition, the consumption of added sugar promotes overweight and diseases of civilization such as diabetes. Soft drinks, sweets, cakes, cookies, fruit drinks, sugary dairy products and breakfast cereals are the primary sources of added sugars in the population.

 

The glycemic index shows how quickly a food can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Fish, meat, vegetables, salad, nuts, legumes as well as whole products indicate a low glycemic index, prolong the effect of satiety and provide energy even during a diet.

 

 

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