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What are Carbohydrates?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 23/01/2024
  • 2 min read

Nutrients play a crucial role in your daily life. They are necessary for the healthy development of your body and mind and vital for disease prevention. The two main categories of nutrients include micronutrients and macronutrients. Your body needs micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins in small quantities. However, your body needs macronutrients in large amounts to produce optimum energy.

Carbohydrates are one of the three main essential macronutrients your body needs besides proteins and fats. They provide immense benefits to your body when consumed in the right proportion. K

eep reading the article to learn about carbohydrates meaning, types and benefits.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates or carbs are one of the most essential macronutrients your body needs to produce energy. Carbs are sugars, fibres and starches mainly found in plant foods and some dairy products in the form of lactose, a milk sugar.

Your body breaks carbohydrates into glucose, which is the primary energy source for your brain and muscles. Consuming carbs in the right proportion can help your body meet its nutritional needs to function properly.

Generally, it is recommended to consume between 45% and 65% of your total calories per day in the form of carbs. However, carb needs may depend on several factors like your body size, blood sugar levels and activity.

The two main carbohydrate classifications are complex and simple. Complex carbs contain long chains of sugar molecules that take longer for your body to break down. Simple carbs, on the other hand, contain short chains of sugar molecules that are easy to break down.

What Are the Types of Carbohydrates?

The following are the three carbohydrate types:

Sugars

Sugars are simple carbohydrates. They cause an instant rise and drop in your blood sugar levels since your body breaks them down quickly. This is why you experience a short burst of energy after consuming sugary foods. The two types of sugars include natural and added sugars. Natural sugars are found in milk, honey, fresh fruits and vegetables. Ice creams, syrups, processed foods, etc., contain added sugars. Certain foods with natural sugar can also provide you with vitamins, fibre and minerals.

Fibre

Fibre is a complex healthy carbohydrate which cannot be broken down by your body. Most of the fibre you consume is passed through the intestines. Fibre helps in digestion, regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. A few good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.

Starches

Most of the starches fall under the category of complex carbohydrates. Your blood sugar level remains stable after consuming starchy foods since it takes longer for your body to break these carbohydrates. They also provide your body with minerals and vitamins. A few sources of starches include beans and legumes, potatoes, rice, fruits, pasta, etc.

Carbohydrates Health Benefits

There is a misconception that carbs are bad for health. Some people even think that consuming them may cause health issues. However, there are ample benefits of carbohydrates, which are as follows:

Carbs provide energy

One of the major carbs’ benefits is that they help your body produce energy. They provide glucose to your cells, which is turned into energy that helps in metabolism and other bodily functions.

Carbs fuel your brain

Carbs not only give you energy but also fuel your brain. According to a study, around 20% to 25% of the resting glucose consumption helps in powering your brain. Complex carbs and high-fibre foods particularly benefit your brain and help in increased concentration.

Carbs help boost your mood

According to research, carbohydrates promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Some studies link low-carb diets to increased anxiety, anger and depression.

Carbs aid in healthy digestion

Another important carbohydrate function is to stimulate digestion. Carbohydrates-rich foods like whole wheat bread, corn, vegetables and fruits are rich in fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion.

Carbs improve heart health

Some carbs help in reducing your cholesterol levels and preventing the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to research, consuming more soluble fibre can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Wrapping Up

Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient for your body. Their intake helps your body produce energy, fuel your brain, stimulate digestion and promote heart and bone health. However, it is essential to consume the right carbs and limit the ones that are unhealthy for you.

You should consume nutrient-rich carbs that are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and limit foods and drinks with added sugars. In addition to this, you should regulate your carb intake if you have diabetes or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Besides consuming a nutrient-rich diet, remember to invest in a health insurance policy to ensure financial security during medical emergencies.

Health insurance is a vital tool to tackle the skyrocketing costs of healthcare services in today’s times.

At Tata AIG, you can choose from individual health insurance, family health insurance, critical illness insurance and other plans according to your needs. Benefits of health insurance from Tata AIG include cashless claims, ambulance cover, maternity cover, pre-existing illness cover, etc.

FAQS

What is the carbohydrate formula?

The general formula of carbohydrates is CH20.

What are the benefits of carbohydrates?

Carbs help produce energy, promote healthy digestion, improve heart health, boost your mood and power your brain.

Which carbs are the healthiest?

Starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains and dairy products are a few carb-rich foods that promote metabolic, digestive, bone and heart health.

Which carbs are bad for health?

Consuming too much added sugar can negatively impact your health. So, avoid foods like candies, cakes, cookies, and sweetened beverages.

What are low-carb foods?

You can follow a low-carb diet if you want to lose weight, treat certain diseases or have high blood sugar levels. Foods such as eggs, meat, seafood, eggplant, broccoli, avocado, apricots, etc., are low in carbs.

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