WHAT IS A CARBOHYDRATE

Carbohydrate provides quick energy, 60% of our energy will come in the form of carbs.

Most cells in the body can use a mix of fats and carbohydrates for energy. The brain is only organ capable of using carbs in the form of glucose. Muscle cells also need carbs for contraction, especially when performing high intense exercise.

Some forms of indigestible carbohydrates Fibre are also important in ensuring that gut function is working efficiently and to help prevent gastrointestinal illness.

We categorise carbohydrates into 2 different Groups, these are simple Carbohydrates (Sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starch and fibres).

Simple Carbohydrates have relatively small molecules, such as glucose, fructose, and lactose, complex carbohydrates have larger molecules. This has an effect on how quickly each carbohydrate type is digested and absorbed into the body.

Complex carbs especially in their unrefined form tend to be packed together with protein, vitamins and minerals, this is not found in sugars.

Sugar is often known as an empty calorie, due to it containing no nutritional value.

Nutrition

When it comes to satisfying the energy needs of the body, there is no difference between simple or complex carbohydrates, other than the speed which they are absorbed, complex carbohydrates break down slower while simple carbs break down fast.

 

Both complex and simple carbohydrates provide 4kcal/g. In that respect, sugar is no more fattening than a starchy potato, for the simple reason a calorie is a calorie in whatever form it takes. Potato or any complex food will fill the stomach and satisfy hunger more effectively than simple sugar, this is because of its complex structure that makes it break down slower in the body, and providing the body with nutrients fibre and energy.

 

A spoonful of sugar will not provide nutritional value. This is because most sources of complex carbohydrates provide dietary bulk or fibre that leaves us feeling full, which is also essential for healthy gut function.

 Complex Carbohydrates

low fat yogurt

Skim milk

Nuts, Seeds and Legumes

Lentils

Kidney beans

Chick peas

Split peas

Soy beans

Pinto beans

Soymilk

Whole Grain Breads and Pastas

Breads and pastas made with the whole grains listed below provide more fiber resulting in feeling full sooner, and longer.

Whole Grains

Buckwheat

Brown rice

Corn

Wheat

Barley

Oats

Sorghum

Quinoa

Fruits and Vegetables

Potatoes

Tomatoes

Onions

Okra

Dill pickles

Carrots

Yams

Strawberries

Peas

Radishes

Beans

Broccoli

Spinach

Green beans

Zucchini

Apples

Pears

Cucumbers

Asparagus

Grapefruit

Prunes

Examples of Types of carbohydrates

Sugars (Simple)

Table Sugar Sucrose

Fruit Fructose

Sweets

Jam

Marmalade

Honey

Energy Drinks glucose

Soft drinks

Milk Lactose

Mix of Both

Cakes

Sugary Breakfast cereals

Starchy Fruits Banana

Pastries

Complex starches and fibres

Wheat Bread, Pasta

Oats

Corn

Barley

Potatoes

Rice

Beans

Peas

Lentils

Chickpeas

Vegetables

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