Carbohydrates Explained

Are low carb diets safe? What are carbs and what purpose do they serve our bodies?

Our bodies use carbohydrates for energy. They are, in fact, the main energy source. We can obtain them from a variety of foods including dairy, veggies, fruits, and breads.

Carbohydrates are comprised of one or more simple sugar molecules. Their chemical make-up is carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

Sugar composition of carbs can be one or more of:

~ Monosaccharides, which are 1 molecule sugars that are glucose (blood sugar), galactose (found mainly in milk), and the fruit sugar fructose

~ Disaccharides: 2 monosaccharides linked together as in sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose (malt sugar)

~ Polysaccharides: Complex Carbohydrates, which are simple sugars linked together in different ways

Complex carbohydrates are what your body thrives on. They are assimilated slowly so have a lower effect on blood sugar and give a more steady stream of energy. They provide a variety of nutrients and are less processed than other types of carbs. A healthy diet always includes these.

Remember these key points to provide your body with the energy source it requires:

~ Buy organic whenever possible

~ Eat whole grains as much as possible

~ The skin is the nutrient center of fruits and vegetable, so leave it!

~ Avoid refined, simple sugars such as cakes, cookies, etc

~ Avoid refined complex carbs such as chips and white bread

Complex carbohydrates provide you with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Your body needs them! Stock up and begin a healthier lifestyle with fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains!

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