Understanding Carbohydrates

Just what are carbohydrates or carbs? Are they important in weight loss and how do they benefit or harm the body? What foods are high in carbohydrates? These and many other questions will be answered within this article. So lets start with the first question. What are Carbohydrates?

Copyright (c) 2008 Troy Foote

Just what are carbohydrates or carbs? Are they important in weight loss and how do they benefit or harm the body? What foods are high in carbohydrates? These and many other questions will be answered within this article. So lets start with the first question. What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates – What Are They?

Carbohydrates are like the fuel for cars. It is the body’s most important and readily available source of energy. In fact, carbs provide the bulk of the calories in most diets, while starches provide the bulk of that. . Carbohydrates are used as energy by the body; they fuel our workouts, as well as provide ample fuel over the course of any day.

Carbohydrates are the brain and muscle’s fuel, so your body needs to use carbs even while you sleep Even though carbohydrates are sugars, if eaten within daily calorie needs, they by definition will not cause weight gain. Carbohydrates will not make us fat by themselves.

What foods have carbohydrates? In almost everything we eat. From breads, pastas, candy, sodas, wines, beer and fruits. Carbohydrates that come from whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables are converted to sugar much more slowly, causing a less drastic change in blood sugar levels.

Benefits of Carbohydrates

There are a number of healthy benefits of carbohydrates that are important to understand.

· Reduce globulin levels, which helps DHT levels.

· Prevents disease

· Source of fibre

· Provides fuel for physical activity and proper organ function

· Carbohydrates are used to make energy in preference to the body’s supply of protein, allowing the protein to be available for the growth and repair of cells.

· Carbohydrates are also important for metabolism, which is the building up and breaking down of molecules in the body.

· Carbohydrates eaten right after weight lifting will help prevent the breakdown of muscle.

Additionally, carbohydrates and their derivatives play major roles in the working process of the immune system, fertilization, pathogenesis, blood clotting, and development.

Based on the effects on risk of heart disease and obesity, the Institute of Medicine recommends that American and Canadian adults get between 40-65% of dietary energy from carbohydrates.

Your liver breaks down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), which is used for energy by the body. Simple carbohydrates have one (single) or two (double) sugars while complex carbohydrates have three or more.

Complex carbohydrates in food are often referred to as “starchy” foods, include: whole grain breads and cereals. Simple carbohydrates that contain vitamins and minerals occur naturally in fruits and milk.

Carbohydrates are also found in processed and refined sugars such as: candy, table sugar, syrups (not including natural syrups such as maple). Regular (non-diet) carbonated beverages, such as soda.

Refined sugars provide calories, but lack vitamins, minerals, and fibre. ” It is healthiest to obtain carbohydrates, vitamins, and other nutrients in as natural a form as possible — for example, from fruit instead of table sugar. Good sources of carbohydrates include: whole-grain cereals, brown rice, whole-grain breads, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy.

To truly maximize your physique, which often entails losing fat and gaining muscle, understanding carbohydrates is a must. The human body tends to crave carbohydrates. We need carbohydrates to maintain muscle health and for nutritive/energy purposes. Your body requires carbohydrates to burn fat. You typically store about 200 grams of carbohydrates in the muscles and another 90 grams in the liver.

How Do They Work In Diets?

A carbohydrate-rich diet is recommended for endurance athletes who wish to maximize muscle glycogen stores. Even so, a diet too high in carbohydrates can upset the delicate balance of your body’s blood sugar level, resulting in fluctuations in energy and mood that leave you feeling irritated and tired.

Your daily diet should be a balance of carbohydrate and protein. People eating a diet high in carbohydrates are less likely to accumulate body fat compared with those who follow a low carbohydrate/high-fat diet. The reasons for this observation are threefold: It could be due to the lower energy density of high carbohydrate diets, as carbohydrates have less calories weight for weight than fats.

Studies have found that carbohydrates, both in the form of starch and sugars, work quickly to aid satiety and that those consuming high carbohydrate diets are therefore less likely to overeat. It has also been confirmed that very little dietary carbohydrate is converted to body fat mainly because it is a very inefficient process for the body.

It is increasingly evident that diets high in carbohydrate, as compared with those high in fat, reduce the likelihood of developing obesity. If you are trying to lose weight, it is best to follow a diet plan which is low in fat, high in healthy carbohydrates and 1200 + calories. Low calorie, low carbohydrate diets are not recommended.


To learn more about carbohydrates, take time to understand the difference between the two types of carbohydrates: the simple and the complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates or the monosaccharides are made up of only one kind of sugar. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates or polysaccharides are composed of different types of sugar.

So, which of these two types of carbohydrates is good and bad for your health? The simple carbohydrates are considered bad when it comes to health and diet. On the contrary, the complex carbohydrates are considered good for the body. So if you’re in a weight loss diet and have already set a daily eating scheme, you shouldn’t cross out food with carbohydrates from your list.

With these, you’ll now know how to lose weight the proper way, which includes a healthy diet with carbohydrates. While there is some evidence that a low-carbohydrate diet may help people lose weight more quickly than a low-fat diet, no one knows the long-term effects of eating little or no carbohydrates. We’re hoping that understanding carbohydrates will help you learn to vary your diet and include many healthy foods.