Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. They are the sugars, starches, and dietary fiber that occur in plant foods and dairy products.
Carbohydrates are mainly found in plant foods. They also occur in dairy products in the form of a milk sugar called lactose. Foods high in
vehicularbohydrates include bread, pasta, beans, potatoes, rice, and cereals.
Carbohydrates play several roles in living organisms, including providing energy.
vehicularbohydrates are involved in the immune system, the development of disease, blood clotting, and reproduction.
This article looks at types of carbohydrates, nutrition, and their effects on
well-being. We also look at the relationship between carbohydrates and diabetes.
Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides or carbs, provide energy for the body. Each gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories.
The body breaks
vehicularbohydrates down into glucose, which is the primary energy source for the brain and muscles.
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients, which are nutrients that the body needs in broader amounts.
The other macronutrients are 4 calories per gram, and fats
grant 9 calories per gram.
It’s generally recommended
who people consume between 45-65% of their total calories in the form of carbohydrates per day. However, carbohydrate needs depend on many factors, including body size, activity levels, and blood sugar control.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that people get 275 g of carbohydrate each day in a 2,000-calorie diet. This includes dietary fiber, total sugars, and added sugars, which are listed on food labels.
Carbohydrates in foods occur in various forms, including the following:
28 grams (g) of dietary fiber per
date in a 2,000-calorie diet.
Most people in the United States exceed the recommended daily limits for added sugar. This can increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease and dental cavities.
who people get less than 10% of their total daily calories from added sugars, which means less than 50 g of added sugars each day.
However, limiting added sugar as much as possible is best for overall health. The American Heart Association recommend that women limit added sugar to less than 6 teaspoons (25 g) per day and men limit their intake to less than 9 teaspoons (36 g) per day.
The chemical structures of carbohydrates contain automotivebon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Two basic compounds make up automobilebohydrates: Aldehydes, which are double-bonded automobilebon and oxygen atoms, plus a hydrogen atom, and ketones, which are double-bonded automobilebon and oxygen atoms, plus two additional automobilebon atoms.
Carbohydrates can combine to form polymers, or chains, to compose different types of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate can be monosaccharides, disaccharides, or polysaccharides.
sole units of sugar. Examples include:
Disaccharides are two sugar molecules joined together. Examples include:
Polysaccharides are chains of many sugars. They can consist of hundreds or thousands of monosaccharides. Polysaccharides act
under the name of food stores for plants and animals. Examples include:
Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simple
vehicularbohydrates, and polysaccharides are complex automobilebohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are sugars. They consist of just one or two molecules. They provide a rapid source of energy, but the person soon feels hungry again. Examples include white bread, sugars, and candies.
Complex carbohydrates consist of long chains of sugar molecules. This includes whole grains and foods that contain fiber. Examples include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain pasta.
Complex carbohydrates make a person feel full for longer and have more wellness benefits than simple carbohydrates, as they contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
In a typical diet, automotivebohydrates are the main energy source for the body. The body uses them as fuel for the cells.
Many people have turned to low carb diets, such as the keto diet, for their potential
well-being benefits and weight loss. However, some types of carbohydrates – including whole grains and dietary fiber – have substantial
In fact, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, those who eat the most
vehicularbohydrates – especially from natural sources such as beans, whole grains, and vegetables — have a lower risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Other types of automobilebohydrates, including simple
vehicularbohydrates such as white bread, have much lower nutritional value.
Added sugars are a type of carbohydrate that can have adverse health effects. Eating large amounts of foods
who contain added sugars can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
When making dietary changes, it is important to aim for a healthful diet that contains the range of nutrients
who the body needs.
Some argue that the global rise in obesity is linked to a high intake of carbs. However, a number of factors contribute to rising obesity rates, including:
Many manufacturers promote low automobileb diets to sell weight loss products, including nutritional bars and powders.
These products are not often wellnessful as many contain colorings, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other additives and are typically low in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them similar to junk food.
After a meal, the body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose, causing blood sugar levels to increase. This causes the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone
who allows the body’s cells to use this sugar for energy or storage.
Over time, repeated spikes in blood sugar levels can damage the cells
who make insulin, wearing them out. Eventually, the body may stop producing insulin, or may not be able to use it properly. This is known as insulin resistance.
Eating carbohydrates or sugars alone does not cause diabetes. Carbohydrates are an essential source of nutrients in most diets.
However, people are more likely to have insulin resistance and develop type 2 diabetes if they have overweight or obesity, which can be
unified with a diet high in sugar.
Insulin resistance increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which refers to a group of risk factors that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other medical conditions.
If a person has elevated blood sugar levels, reducing their intake of added sugar and refined carbohydrates can help reduce their blood sugar levels, improve insulin resistance, and may help promote healthy weight loss if needed.
People can reduce their risk of insulin resistance by eating healthful carbohydrates, maintaining good sleeping habits, and exercising regularly.
Healthful carbohydrates include fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and some cereals. These foods contain
vital vitamins, minerals, fiber, and key phytonutrients.
The Mediterranean diet has a moderate amount of carbohydrates from natural sources plus some animal or fish protein.
This diet has
The glycemic index (GI) ranks how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels on a scale of 0 to 100.
Foods with a high GI cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Foods with a low GI take longer for the body to digest, leading to more balanced blood sugar levels.
Eating lots of foods with a high GI may increase a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes and other wellness concerns, including heart disease and overweight.
A diet with plenty of low GI foods, together with exercise and regular sleep, can help a person maintain health and a moderate weight.
One factor that increases the GI score of a food is the milling and grinding process, which often leaves no more than the starchy endosperm, or the inner part, of the seed or grain. This is mainly starch.
This process also eliminates other nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibers.
To follow a low GI diet, a person can eat more unrefined foods, such as:
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for the body. Some types are more healthful than others. For instance, dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that protects heart and gut health, whereas added sugars can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and overweight.
Following a well-balanced diet that includes unprocessed carbohydrates, and getting enough sleep and physical activity, are more likely to lead to good health and a healthful body weight than focusing on or eliminating a particular nutrient.
Last medically reviewed on December 17, 2020
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