Carbohydrates are the most common energy form. They are broken down into sugar, most commonly glucose. They yield 4 kcal of energy per gram. They come in two basic forms -complex and simple. Simple carbs are a few molecules of sugar linked together in single molecules. Complex carbs are hundreds or even thousands of sugar units linked together in a molecule. Simple sugars are sweet, while complex carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, are pleasant to the taste buds, but not sweet.
There are high fiber and low fiber complex carbohydrates. Human beings do not have the enzyme to digest high-fiber carbohydrates like grass. Human beings do not have the enzymes to digest the cellulose in high-fiber, complex carbohydrates. When we eat food with high-fiber, complex carbohydrates, such as certain vegetables, we digest everything but the fiber, which is passed out of our body and actually helps our digestive system do its job. Processing of vegetables strips away fiber and/or vitamin content. One example of processing is cutting an orange and squeezing it for juice, as opposed to just eating it with the white fiber stuck on the flesh of the orange. High-fiber carbohydrates have been associated with lowered incidences of diseases such as hypertension, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.
Some low-fiber, complex carbohydrates are banana, tomato, squash and all cereals and grains, potatoes and rice. The enzyme amylase, which is in human saliva, digests carbohydrates.
When a person eats a simple carbohydrate, the energy is more readily available. However, the person may crash once the energy is depleted. That is why it is recommended to eat a complex carbohydrate such as past before a marathon.
If a person eats too many carbohydrates and does not use them as energy, they are converted into fat. As with most other things, a person gets to know their body as they work out, and gets to sense how much of each food group works for their body and for their activity schedule. Of course, getting an annual blood test and physician screening are also important.
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Some material from this blog was obtained from http://www.medical-library.net/sites/framer.html?/sites/carbohydrates_in_nutrition.html
Accessed on November 27, 2005
Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.