What are carbohydrates?

A lot of food we consume contains carbohydrates. But what exactly are carbohydrates and what is their effect? Are they healthy or not? These and more questions are typical if you are thinking about your diet. Fact is, that potatoes, pasta, bread and even fruits contain carbohydrates. You should not quit consuming them because they are important energy suppliers for your body. They consist mainly of sugar molecules and are the engine, that the brain and muscles need..

Complex Carbohydrates Food Sources

What are carbohydrates and what do you need them for?

It is not wise to quit carcohydrates overall. They are, when kept within bounds, important to your body. It burns up energy all the time, even when we are sleeping. Carbohydrates are essential for the resting metabolic rate. Concretely that means: essential for the metabolism, respiration, heartbeat and a constant body temperature. Furthermore there are the physical activities, that take up a lot of energy that can be gained from carbohydrates. Especially athletes need carbohydrates.
How many carbohydrates a person needs depends on the daily routine and how much physical, but also mental activity is done per day. Carbohydrates nurture the brain as well.

Potatoes

How are carbohydrates segmented?

Carbohydrates are segmented into three different categories. They can be monosaccharides (single sugar) like fructose and glucose/dextrose. They can also be the disaccharide (double sugar). The disaccharide is mostly found in the common sugar you have at home, but also in lactose/milk sugar. These two categories of sugar are mostly found in all the sweet things we eat, including cakes, chocolate and more. They only supply you with energy and increase your blood sugar levels. As quickly as it rises, it also decreases. So what is the third option? The third category are the oligosaccharides (multiple sugar). They are mostly found as starch in products like potatoes, cereals and legumes. The blood sugar levels rises slowlier, but you are full longer and the energy your body takes out of it is easier „recycled“.

pasta, tomaten und Basilikum

What are carbohydrates and in which foods can I find them?

Fat and carbohydrates are the main players when it comes to fulfilling your daily dose of energy. The difference: carbohydrates only contain half of the calories. A gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories and delivers them directly as energy to the brain, muscles and other important bodily functions. Just because carbohydrates are built by sugar does not mean they taste sweet. You do not taste the carbohydrates that are stored in pasta, rice, potatoes or bread. Fruits also contain a high amount of fruit sugar – we mostly do not tend to think about that as well.

What are carbohydrates? – Better than their reputation

Concluding, you could say, that if you eat lots of carbohydrates that belong to the third category, the multiple sugars, then that is an important step for your nutrition. Which carbohydrates are healthy? The ones that not only supply you with a quick fix of energy, but also provide you with dietary fibre – like wholemeal bread.