Primary Source of Energy
Carbohydrates provide an economical and quick source of calories. We need vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats along with carbs for a healthy and well-balanced body.
Carbohydrates once consumed, start getting broken down from the time it gets mixed with the saliva and further by the enzymes in the stomach and the small intestine. Simple sugars are absorbed mainly in the small intestine and released into the blood stream. Through the blood the sugar or glucose is transported to the organs, muscles and brain to be used as energy.
What happens to the extra glucose in the blood?
We mostly eat depending on how hungry we are. Whenever we eat more carbs than is needed by the body, the excess glucose is converted to glycogen by the muscles and liver. The liver glycogen is converted to glucose whenever the energy needs exceed the amount of available glucose. But beware! The liver and muscles can only store limited amount of glycogen and a steady, and excess intake of carbs through the diet is turned into fat and deposited in our body, making us FAT!
Supplying our body with adequate carbs is very important to save proteins so that they can be used for their more important function of building and repairing tissues. When we go on a low carb diet, protein is broken down and used to release energy in place of carbohydrates. With the excess breakdown of protein also increases the excretion of protein byproducts causing a load on the kidneys.
The indigestible part of carbohydrates, i.e. dietary fiber, is resistant to digestion. There are two form of fibers, insoluble fiber found in whole wheat, bran, vegetables add bulk to the stools and helps to regularize the bowel movements. Soluble fibers are soluble in water and are found to lower cholesterol levels and decrease blood glucose levels. Oats, legumes, barley, apples, guava, citrus fruits, carrots, strawberries are some sources of soluble fiber.
“I usually can’t think clearly when I am hungry,” and this is so true because the brain can work only when it has got a good supply of glucose.We start feeling dizzy, tired and fatigued when our body glucose levels go down due to inadequate intake of carbs.