There are three main macronutrients that should be included in every diet: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the importance of carbs which can lead to yo-yo dieting and carb eliminating diets which can be extremely bad for the body. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we have made it our mission to ensure that our readers are equipped with the information they need to formulate a healthy diet that will show results and in this blog we are going to go over everything you need to know about carbohydrates…
What are they?
Often credited as ‘evil’, carbohydrates are a type of macronutrients that are required in moderation as part of a healthy diet. In fact, they can be found in a wide variety of foods from fruit and vegetables to cakes and sweets. Scientifically, they are our bodies main source of energy and are crafted from sugar molecules that the body breaks down during digestion.
In simple terms, the function of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy, however scientifically they have a much deeper importance. It all starts when the sugar molecules are broken down during digestion and increase the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This causes your body to release a hormone called insulin in order to remove this excess sugar from your bloody stream and transport it to your muscles for storage so it can be used as energy. When we exceed these storage levels, however the body stores it as fat and that is why we gain weight.
Carbohydrates are a sugar which can be divided into three separate types: monosaccharides, which have one sugar molecule; disaccharides, which have two sugar molecules, and polysaccharides, which has three or more sugar molecules. The number of molecules a carbohydrate has determines its ability to increase your glycaemic index. For example, a cake is generally made up of monosaccharides and disaccharides so are easy to digest due whereas starchy foods like potatoes are made up of polysaccharides and take longer for the body to digest. When a carbohydrate is easy to digest it is known as ‘simple’ carbs whereas those that are more difficult are known as ‘complex’ carbs.
Recognising the importance of carbohydrates is the first step towards crafting a diet that will show results. After all, the macronutrient can be found in almost everything we eat so it is vital that you can find healthy sources of it. If you have any questions about carbohydrates, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!