Carbohydrates Facts

Carbohydrates Facts
Carbohydrates are a chemical compound, and the body's main source of energy. Carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and can be divided into four different types including monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. Unlike protein and fat, carbohydrates are easily digested and broken down into glucose which the body uses for a variety of functions, including energy. Carbohydrates can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, breads, and sugar-foods. Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates are generally not as healthy as those with complex carbohydrates.
Interesting Carbohydrates Facts:
A carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram.
Processed foods such as candy, cakes, and cookies are usually high in simple carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrates often lead to weight gain if eaten too often.
Complex carbohydrates include beans, whole grains, and many vegetables. Complex carbohydrates tend to have higher amounts of fiber than simple carbohydrates. They also contain healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Monosaccharides are the easiest form of carbohydrates for the body to digest. Common monosaccharides are glucose and fructose, which dissolve in water and are very sweet tasting.
Disaccharides are made up of two monosaccharides and include lactose (milk's carbohydrate), and sucrose.
Polysaccharides are the carbohydrates referred to as complex carbohydrates, and are made up of long carbohydrate molecules.
Oligosaccharides are a type of carbohydrate made up of three to six monosaccharides.
Complex carbohydrates include starches, glycogen, cellulose, and chitin.
Many plants store their energy in starches, which we consume in the form of vegetables such as potatoes, and then use the energy as we digest the food.
Animals store their energy in glycogen, which is stored in their muscles and liver and used when required by the body for energy.
Cellulose is a type of carbohydrate found in plants, but it is not digestible when the plant is consumed.
Fungi and arthropods have a structural carbohydrate molecule called chitin.
Approximately two to three percent of a human's body mass is made up of carbohydrates.
In order for human cells to perform as they should, carbohydrates must be available.
While carbohydrates are used for energy, fat and protein are used to build cells and tissue in the body.
Some people believe that eating very few carbohydrates will help them lose weight. Carbohydrates are required for human health, to ensure the body can function properly. Some people survive on very few carbohydrates because the body can convert protein into carbohydrates to be used for energy. But diets very low in complex carbohydrates often lack in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
When people eat too many carbohydrates, often in the form of simple carbohydrates, they can gain weight because the body stores the extra carbohydrates as fat.
Simple carbohydrates tend to spike blood sugar, while complex carbohydrates contain fiber, which slows the digestion of sugars and does not spike blood sugar.
Humans should focus on eating lots of complex carbohydrates in the form of vegetables and many fruits, and avoid refined carbohydrates (simple carbohydrates) found in white pasta and bread, sugar, cookies, and even fruit juices.


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