What are Carbohydrates?

What are Carbohydrates?

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates or carbs are organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These organic compounds called carbohydrates make up one of the three major food classes or macronutrients, fat and protein being the other two. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for humans. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose to provide energy.

Examples of foods that are high in carbohydrates include white rice, wheat, bread, noodles, potatoes etc.

Why are they called carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates mainly contain three main elements namely carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Hence, they are called carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for human body.

What are various types of carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates can be classified in different ways. The basic classification looks at them as simple carbs and complex carbs. Carbohydrates can also be classified as sugars, dietary fibres and starches. Another way of classifying carbohydrates is as monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.

What are Simple carbs?

Simple carbs are made of small molecular chains and can be easily broken down after consumption. As simple carbs are easily and quickly absorbed by your body, they can cause blood sugar spikes. Foods like refined flour, refined sugar, fruits, milk are rich in simple carbohydrates. As simple carbohydrates can cause blood sugar spikes, you may want to check your blood sugar levels after eating foods high in simple carbs.

What are Complex carbs?

Complex carbs contain longer molecular chains and cannot be broken down as easily as simple carbs. As complex carbs take longer to digest, they are absorbed at a slower rate. Hence, complex carbohydrates do not cause blood sugar spikes. As complex carbohydrates take longer to be digested and absorbed, they provide long lasting energy than simple carbohydrates. Examples of complex carbohydrates include brown rice, wheat, sweet corn, barley, oats, buckwheat, quinoa etc.

Can a diabetic eat Carbohydrates?

Yes, a diabetic must eat carbohydrates as they are essential for bodily functions. You need to eat carbohydrates for energy. However, a diabetic needs to be careful on what type of carbohydrates and how much carbohydrates to eat.

From the above, it is obvious that complex carbohydrates are more healthful than simple carbohydrates. Hence, a diabetic must try to include more complex carbohydrates than simple carbohydrates in diabetic meal plans. It is a good idea that a diabetic always checks blood sugar levels if in doubt about eating carbohydrates. A blood glucose monitor such as this one can be helpful in checking blood sugar levels at home.

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