Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

What you need to know about carbohydrates


The last macro we will talk about is carbohydrates which for some are the evil  so they avoid them at all cost and others make them the base of their diet. 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 (is 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. This simple sugars do not need to be broken down for the body to use them so they get into your 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 to describe how fast or slow they were digested and how fast 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 make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates was used to describe polysaccharides which increase blood sugar slower.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so your body needs to keep it regulated, when you eat too much sugar it gets to your 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.

Fiber is also a carbohydrates that is not broken down in the small intestine, it get into the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria. It can be divided into soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, insoluble fiber does not dissolves in water. Both of them have a lot of benefits making it an important part of your diet. Green and cruciferous vegetables are great options to add fiber to your meals and your nutrition program.

Our bodies does not need high amounts of sugar and we are eating more carbohydrates than our body needs. If you are insulin resistant you may consider going lower in carbohydrates for a period of time until insulin improves.

Our body only needs a small amount of carbs.

We are all different so if a higher carbohydrate diet works best for you go ahead. The best carbohydrates sources you can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, carbohydrates like oatmeal, quinoa, beans, legumes, rice, pasta, corn tortilla are also a great option.

If you´ve read the posts “what you need to know about fats” and “what you need to know about protein” you can see that there are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids which make them a crucial part of our diets but there are not essential carbohydrates meaning that our bodies only need sugar for energy, thanks to this we can use them as a tool like in carbohydrate cycling like a source of energy and glycogen to lose fat or gain muscle.

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

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