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Nutrition

Macronutrients – Carbohydrates

06

The last macronutrient we will talk about is carbohydrates, there are 4 calories in one gram of carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are carbon-based molecules that contain water and can be classified in monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides are the simplest basic structure which include glucose ( the simplest form of sugar), fructose (fruit) and galactose (dairy). Glucose is the building block of most complex carbohydrates and it´s our body´s preferred source of energy (that´s what we´ve been told). This simple sugars do not need to be broken down so they get into the bloodstream and are used immediately.

Disaccharides are two monosacchrides bound together which include sucrose and lactose.

Polysaccharides are more than two monosaccharides bound together which include starches.

Some years ago this three groups (monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides) were divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates depending on how fast or slow they were digested and how fast or slow  they raise blood glucose. The simpler the molecule of sugar, the easier it is to break it down; the more complex the molecule, the more it has to be broken down and the longer it takes to absorb. Simple carbohydrates was used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides which are easier to digest and make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates was used to describe polysaccharides which take longer to digest and increase blood sugar slowly.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so our body needs to keep it regulated, when we eat too much sugar it gets to our bloodstream, insulin raises to take that glucose from the bloodstream to the cell and use it for energy or store it as glycogen in the muscles and if there´s an excess it stores the rest as fat.

Contrary to what we´ve been told our body performs better in a high fat low carbohydrate diet with moderate protein. The amount of carbohydrates that our body needs is zero, there are no essential carbohydrates as there are essential amino acids (protein) and essential fatty acids (fats) the only reason we need carbohydrates are to get fiber and micronutrients.

Ketogenic diets are based on this, since there’s not an essential carbohydrate and our body doesn´t need them we can go high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbohydrates, actually the carbohydrates we consume in keto diets are vegetables to get nutrients.

The best carbohydrates sources we can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, and those low in gluten like oats, amaranth but if we want to have some carbohydrates on our diet make sure that they are not processed for example rice or corn tortillas.

The type of diet or nutrition program we follow is the one that works best for each of us, that one that keeps us healthy and support our fitness goals and also the one the makes us feel great this is why we need to listen to our body, to find out which foods make us feel our best, deliver the best results and we can sustain for long periods of time.

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Pam