Friday, September 18th, 2009

Know Your Carbohydrates

carb1Carbohydrates are simple sugars with complex chains. Let us investigate simple facts that are hidden behind sugar.

Carb Facts

  • Plants produce carbohydrates through photosynthesis—using carbon dioxide from the air, water from the soil, and energy form the sun.
  • Carbohydrates come from a wide array of foods – bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, corn, and cherry pie.
  • They also come in a variety of forms. The most common and abundant are sugars, fibres and starches.
  • Besides providing energy, foods rich in carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, are also good sources of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and phytochemicals that can help lower the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Carbohydrates provide the body with the fuel it needs for physical activity and for proper organ function.

Carbohydrates and Glycemic Index

Low carb is a thing of the past. Glycemic Index is the latest entrant in the controversy embroiling in the world of carbohydrates.

  • To put it simply, the glycemic index, or GI, ranks carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, sweeteners, and grain-based foods) according to their effect on blood sugar.
  • All carbohydrate foods raise our blood sugar after we eat, them but some have a more dramatic effect. These are the high-GI foods, like—potatoes, white bread, white rice, sugary treats, and sugary drinks.
  • Diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are linked with long-term eating of high GI foods.
  • Low-GI foods, on the other hand, may help us lower our blood sugar, reduce food cravings, and lower the risk of developing diabetes.
  • The glycemic index of foods is not always easy to predict. A high-sugar food like ice cream has low glycemic index as the fat in it slows sugar absorption.

Complex Carbs and complexities

A diet rich in complex carbohydrates promotes a healthy body weight and lowers the risk of obesity.

For more of complex carbohydrates

  • Go for whole grains—Swap white bread with brown, refined flour with wheat flour. Try mixing different whole grains flour for the wholesome advantage.
  • Eat fruits preferably with skin on, instead of fruit juice.
  • When having potato salads sprinkle it with vinegar or lemon juice. Vinegar slows the digestion of carbohydrates, as a result blood sugar levels do not spike.
  • Eat beans, legumes and chickpeas. These are slow absorbing starches.
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Category: Carbohydrates
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