Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Carbohydrates which are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are primary source of energy for humans in pretty much every culture and hold important place in your diet but there are some intricacies and concepts which can help you to understand and learn healthier ways of consuming carbs.
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The main function of carbs:
Its main function is to deliver energy to maintain various functions in your body and cells. Most of your body can derive energy from other sources like fat and protein, however the brain (your central processing unit) and red blood cells (that carry oxygen throughout the body) depend predominantly on glucose which is a carbohydrate, except during prolonged periods of fasting.
Simple vs Complex carb:
Simple carbs like sugar, sugary drinks and white rice release glucose much rapidly and in large amounts as compared to complex carbs like fruits, vegetables, whole grain wheat and beans. Starches in complex carbs are packed together with other nutrients like proteins and fibers which in turn slow down the release of glucose when broken down by gut enzymes.
Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load:
With research and studies, it is clear that Glycemic index (the rate at which sugar is released) and Glycemic load (sugar load) are vital while selecting carbs in the diet.
In general, the foods with low Glycemic Index and Load like bulgur wheat, barley, apples, cherries, lentils, chick peas, yogurt, milk, carrots are better than the ones with higher Glycemic Index and Load. They also make you feel fuller for longer period of time.
To learn more about Glycemic Index, click here
When to consume carb:
It is better to eat carb rich food in the early part of the day when we are active and mobile rather than at night.
Carbs are important source of fuel for your body. However, selecting right type of food is the key. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are healthier sources of carbs as compared to refined flour based baked items and potatoes. Choosing healthier carbs can also help to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
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