Characteristics of carbohydrates
What are carbohydrates or carbs?
Carbohydrates, also called carbs or saccharides, are a group of organic compounds containing hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Although its name might suggest it, they are not really hydrated carbon molecules.
They are the most abundant organic compounds in nature. They appear in the animal and plant kingdoms, from the photosynthesis of plants and bacteria from carbon dioxide and water with the help of sunlight.
Properties of carbohydrates
What are carbohydrates for? Carbohydrates provide energy. Thanks to them, we get immediate energy for the organism that allows us to live and do the daily work. Carbohydrates are made up of glucose. Glucose is found in the blood and is used by all cells for energy. It is a slow and lasting source of energy. Therefore, carbohydrates are very important and we have to include them in every meal.
Where do we get the carbohydrates from?
Cereals such as rice, or legumes such as lentils are carbohydrate-rich foods
Most carbohydrates are obtained from plant foods. They are very abundant in cereals, such as rice, wheat or corn and in the food we get from them, such as bread, cookies, breakfast cereals, pasta, etc.
Legumes are also very rich in carbohydrates. Among them are soybeans, beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
TYPES OF CARBOHYDRATES
The following table shows the main types of carbohydrates and some of its features according to a dietary standpoint.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex carbohydrates.
(More information on carbohydrates simple and complex in the listing above)
How many carbohydrates to take?
Carbohydrates must play a fundamental role in the daily diet as energy suppliers. Are generally recommended for the daily diet the following proportions of foods that provide energy:
However, the importance of these foods in the diet is so crucial that the proportion of carbohydrate versus fat and protein could still be higher. According to the World Health Organization foods rich in carbohydrates should cover between 55 and 75% of all energy foods included.
The required calories of each individual depend on the type of work he performs, but in general, performing moderate activity, an adult male needs between 2500 and 4000 Kcal. and a woman between 2100 and 3000 Kcal.
Taking into account that the calories of carbohydrates should represent 55% of this energy value, at least one should take a cereal plate and 100 g. of bread a day (equivalent to 1,000Kcal).
Metabolism of carbohydrates
The proper functioning of the metabolism of carbohydrates, along with the proper metabolism of other nutrients, allowing the body to enjoy good health. Properly digesting and assimilating carbohydrates primarily allow us to obtain energy from food in a rational manner.
Thus the body may have appropriate biological fuel to provide the necessary energy to cells, thus allowing the muscle work as a series of activities of the basal metabolism (maintaining proper body temperature, to achieve the proper functioning of the intestine, achieve sufficient blood pressure in the arteries or the proper function of neurons, keeping the breath, etc)
In addition to providing adequate energy, carbohydrates can be stored as glycogen from excess glucose in the liver and muscles. The body may have this book in emergency situations by transforming it back into glucose.
The incorrect metabolism of carbohydrates can be responsible for some metabolic diseases. Among them, obesity is one of most common. A very slow metabolism, along with other factors such as sedentary lifestyle, poor diet or stress, are the most common causes of overweight or obesity.
In this case, it so important to calculate the calories that give us energy foods such as choosing foods rich in carbohydrates suitable to provide us an adequate calories more efficiently. These practices if they are carried out regularly, along with other dietary and life as an adequate daily physical activity, are part of what is known as accelerating the metabolism, a process that allows "burn" more calories so that they are not stored in the form of fat.
Simple carbohydrates in front of complex carbohydrates
Among the carbohydrates, it is best to choose as food complex carbohydrates to simple carbohydrates. That is to say, those that are absorbed more slowly in front of those quick absorption.
Foods such as sugar, bakery products, products made with refined flour, sweets, ice cream or fruit and fruit juices are high in simple carbohydrates. All of them, except for fruit and fruit juices are recognized dietetically as "empty calories" or "zero calories" foods; it means that is high in calories but lacks other much needed nutrients for good health. (More information on this topic)
Empty calories and refined sugar
Foods like refined sugar, baked goods, soft drinks, jelly beans, products made with refined flour, sweets, ice cream or fruit and fruit juices are rich in simple carbohydrates.
All of them are dietetically recognized as "empty calories" or "zero calories"; ie contain many calories but lack other nutrients much needed for good health.
The importance of cellulose
Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate such that plants use to build your frame. Human enzymes can not break them down so they are not digestible and are passed to defecation in the form of fiber.
More information on carbohydrates in the listing above.
Other interesting articles
This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.