Carbohydrates 101*

Tuesday, 22 March 2016, By Daniel Seluoge


Are carbohydrates important? Are carbohydrates necessary?

Well let's start with what carbohydrates are.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are 1 of the 3 macronutrients and 1 of the 6 essential nutrients your body needs to survive. Carbohydrates are constructed from sugars, fibre and starches.

Why do we need carbohydrates?

  • Carbohydrate is the first, most readily available source of energy we use in our body.
  • Carbohydrates are essential for muscle growth. Consuming low amounts of carbohydrate is absolutely disastrous for anyone who wants to build muscle fast.
  • Carbohydrates provide nutrients for the good bacteria in our intestines that helps us digest our food.
  • Studies have shown that 45-60% of our energy intake should be used from carbohydrates.
  • 1gm of Carbohydrates = 4 Calories.
  • Carbohydrates have a major effect on hormones. 1 hormone is insulin. When we eat carbohydrates and are at rest, your carbohydrates get stored into your "carb tank" which in our bodies represent your muscles and liver. Insulin is the key hormone responsible for the metabolism/storage of carbohydrates.
  • If your body doesn't consume enough carbohydrates, you can experience low blood sugar, hypoglycemia which may make you feel fatigued, dizzy, shaky, light headed and could also decrease your performance during exercise and/or everyday activities. You also stress your body which increases your cortisol levels (Stress hormone) and decrease leptin (fat burning hormone). Your serotonin levels decrease from a lack of carbohydrate which affects things like emotional state, sleeping ability and your appetite amongst other things.

Sources of carbohydrates

Good Sources of carbohydrates:

It is good to have these following carbohydrates because they would most likely be filled with a lot of vitamins and minerals and are low in carbs and fats which means you can have more of it for e.g.

  • Stone fruits
  • strawberries,
  • blueberries,
  • cucumbers,
  • broccoli,
  • peaches,
  • plums,
  • beans,
  • tomato,
  • apricots,
  • squash,
  • zucchini,

Moderate Choices of Carbohydrates

It is also good to have rice, bread, potatoes etc on a moderate basis, but they have a lot of carbs which means if you are on a fat loss program you shouldn't have too much of these carbohydrate sources. e.g.

  • Brown, white, basmati and jasmine rice
  • Potatoes
  • Bread (Barley, white, brown)
  • Cereals
  • Pasta

Poor Choices Carbohydrates

These carbohydrates are considered poor for their lack of nutrients and excessive amounts of carbohydrates and fats. E.g.:

  • Pastries,
  • Choco late,
  • Cake,
  • Chips
  • Biscuits
  • Sugars

The reason why we don't recommend eating these kind of foods is because it has a quick sugar hit to the brain and blood. The brain loves these kind of sugars and quickly develops an addiction which then becomes a habit. It also affects the blood by releasing vast amounts of insulin which after a while may affect and cause different kinds of sicknesses or diseases. I.e diabetes insulin resistance and heart problems to name few.

In conclusion carbohydrates are important because the good sources of carbohydrate provide essential vitamins and minerals to the body, play vital roles in our body functions and can have a major effect on our hormone levels. In saying so be particularly careful of what carbohydrates you consume and what we are feeding our bodies/children.


*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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