What are carbohydrates and the health benefits of carbs

Carbohydrates or saccharides represent an important source of energy for the human body. By burning just 1 gram of carbohydrates you get 4 calories of energy. That is why carbohydrates are indispensable in the metabolism of lipids and proteins and enter into the contents of tissue, cells and some hormons.

The Wikipedia definition of carbohydrates is: “Carbohydrates (from ‘hydrates of carbon’) or saccharides (Greek sákcharon, meaning "sugar") are the most abundant of the four major classes of biomolecules. They fill numerous roles in living things, such as the storage and transport of energy (starch, glycogen) and structural components. Chemically, carbohydrates are simple organic compounds that are aldehydes or ketones with many hydroxyl groups added, usually one on each carbon atom that is not part of the aldehyde or ketone functional group. The basic carbohydrate units are called monosaccharides, such as glucose, galactose, and fructose.”


As their Greek name suggests the majority of carbohydrates have a sweet taste and are resulted from glucose and fructose found in fruits and honey, saccharides from sugar, pectin from fruits and vegetables, glycogen from liver and muscles, starch form vegetables, maltose found in cereals, cellulose and hemicelluloses found in dietary fibers.

Through absorption glycogen maintains a constant blood sugar level. The dietary fibers help out your digestion and give a helping hand in eliminating the fecal matter from the intestines. Pectin helps stabilize your cholesterol level and regulate the intestinal flora.

Carbs can be found in a variety of foods like: sugar and sweets, vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas), cereals, bread and pastas, dairies with the exception of cheeses, sweet drinks, honey, rice…

Carbohydrates should make up 50%-60% of all the daily food that you eat. Scientists have established that you need between 14-17 ounces of carbohydrates daily (400-500 grams of carbohydrates). That is the portion for an adult. If you want a more personal quantity of carbohydrates that you should eat you can use the following formula: eat 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per every pound you have.

The absence of carbohydrates form your body leads to metabolic imbalances. Your body will try to get its needed portion of carbohydrates by burning muscle not fat. And if you start losing your muscle mass soon you will start gaining weight fast. Eating too many carbohydrates can make you suffer form diabetes, arteriosclerosis, liver diseases and obesity.

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