What Do Carbohydrates Do?

The human body consumes a large percentage of average carbohydrates in its regular diet. In basic biology terms, foods rich in carbohydrates are classified as “Go foods.” This means that carbohydrates are the most convenient source of energy that people need on a daily basis. This explains why carbohydrates are more prevalent during breakfast than any other meals of the day. The rule of thumb about nutrition pretty much translates all other aspects of positive living – which is to start the day right. Carbohydrates, being the usual starter meals for most people around the world, truly have their own invaluable benefits.


What Do Carbohydrates Do?

1. Source of Energy

There is about fifty to eighty percent of energy being supplied by carbohydrates in average food intake. Therefore, carbohydrates are very useful for body processes. Our body’s tissues and organs do not immediately consume all of the carbohydrates in our systems. Residue carbohydrates are stored as adipose tissues for future use. Excess build-up of carbohydrates can ultimately become fats. Foods like bread, rice, pasta, and fruits like blueberries and oranges are packed with energy-generating carbohydrates that provide our bodies the fuel it needs to get by daily.

2. Protein Conservation

Since carbohydrates fulfill the role of primary energy provider, it does not interfere with the main purpose of the proteins. The main function of proteins is to build up and repair tissues. The lack of carbohydrate intake can contribute to the poor development of muscles as well as slowing down the natural healing process of injuries. Carbohydrate inefficiency compels the body to use proteins as surrogate energy supplier, thus causing health deficiency.

3. Oxidizing Fat

Carbohydrates are necessary for fitness because it oxidizes fats. Technically, fats provide bigger amounts of energy than carbohydrates. However, energy from fats can’t be utilized without carbohydrates as a burning agent. It is through this basic biological principle where the quote “fat burns in the fire of carbohydrates” came from. Weight-loss endeavors require proper carbohydrate consumption in order to increase the metabolic capacity during fitness activities.

4. Preventing Ketosis

By understanding the principle of fat oxidation, one can comprehend the importance of preventing ketosis. Ketosis is a condition wherein the body burns fats instead of glucose for fuel or energy. Naturally, the body crashes because of high blood glucose. The degree of ketosis may vary. Some cases of ketosis are mild and they facilitate hasty or crash weight loss. These are often called “nutritional ketosis.”

But extreme cases of ketosis are toxic, and it often occurs among diabetic people. High levels of ketosis can often cause blood to become too acidic, thus progressing into a serious condition called “ketoacidosis.” Keeping healthy levels of carbohydrates, together with proteins and other nutrients, prevent dangerous levels of ketosis. Healthy amounts of carbohydrates mean bigger consumption of carbohydrates than fats.

5. Digestive Protection

One of the many important functions of carbohydrates is that it promotes better performance of the lower digestive tract. Indigestion and constipation are the most common complications of the intestines. Carbohydrates, primarily from oats and cereals, are also rich in good fiber. Carbohydrates are responsible for regulating proper digestion since it allows easy passage of the stool from the large intestine out through the rectum. Patients with a digestive complications such as colostomy requires balanced amount of carbohydrates.

6. Weight Control

Although fitness conscious individuals out of supposedly practical reasons often avoid carbohydrates, foods under this classification benefits people who are seeking to control their weight. Apart from exercise being the active process of burning fats, diet is also very crucial for achieving the desired weight.

As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates prevent compromising protein imbalance and promote better digestion. In the particular case of losing weight, eating carbohydrate-rich foods gives people the sensation of being full because most of the ideal fiber-rich foods are also those that has high carb content. Therefore, eating a good selection of carbohydrate-rich foods can successfully extend the hunger threshold and prevent people from overeating.

Avoiding all types of carbohydrates is the common misconception followed by most fitness buffs who were not taught proper dietary tips. Carbohydrates are important, but one must know how to choose the right stuff and regulate its intake. Examples of good carbohydrates are whole wheat bread, rye bread, pasta, cereals, oatmeal and sweet potatoes.

7. Mood Improvement

There is a perfectly logical explanation why eating sweets brings the feeling of delight for most people. Whether it is a child eating candies and ice cream, or athletes sipping fruit smoothies after a rigorous training; simple carbohydrates generally improves the mood of people. The main reason why carbohydrates cause positive vibes has a lot to do with how sweets work for the brain. Carbohydrates naturally release higher levels of serotonin, a basic pleasure hormone. Helping oneself with carbohydrates to feel good is generally not a bad idea, especially after having a stressful time.

However, there are certain side effects to eating too much of it. The brain has a tendency to crave for carbs, causing one to feel addicted. This is the main reason why kids often fight with their parents for more candies. In worse cases, adults succumb to alcoholism and disrupt their normal life routine. After all beer, rum and “sake” (Japanese for rice wine) are the types of beverages containing prodigious amounts of carbohydrates.

8. Natural Flavoring

Apart from the strictly nutritional value of carbohydrates, this building block of life even has its own inherent culinary benefit. Simple carbohydrates (sugars) are self-explanatory. But even as complex ones (starch) are appealing because it still creates a natural pleasant flavor for anyone eating such classified foods. The practical explanation for this phenomenon is that the human saliva has the natural capability to turn starch into sugar. It is the very reason why foods like bread and biscuits taste good after it gets broken down inside the mouth. This also helps explain how foods classified under carbohydrates are the usual menu first thing in the morning.

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