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marathon runners
muscle tissues
calories per day
body burns
losing muscle
healthy diet
complex carbohydrates
muscle tissue
Carbohydrates – Do They Have A Bad Rap?
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Carbohydrates – Do they Have A Bad Rap?

A healthy diet consists of macronutrients which provide our body with needed energy and calories. These nutrients are required in large amounts and there are three classes of macronutrients that include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The three main functions of macronutrients are that they can provide energy, regulate body functions, and promote development/growth. All nutrients are needed for metabolism and growth and for many other body functions. They are counted in the form of calories per gram and the amount of each varies. Fat provides nine calories per gram, while carbohydrates and proteins both provide four.

Let's talk about carbohydrates.

Oftentimes we hear people say they require more protein for energy. That is incorrect. The nutrient protein is used for repairing and building of tissues, and not for energy. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for our system. Marathon runners load up on carbohydrates before a race and not protein, because they need that energy that carbohydrates provide.

Our very own vital chemistry of the brain makes use of only carbohydrates for fuel. So what exactly are carbohydrates? They are a clean combusting fuel that disintegrates into water and carbon dioxide.

The entire body burns up proteins for power or energy if it needs to, however it prefers fats and carbohydrates. When we don't get enough carbohydrates, we run the risk of having our muscle tissues breakdown by turning it them into carbohydrates to keep our systems running. Muscle tissue burns calories and losing muscle tissues means we will lose fewer calories per day. We need strong muscles for this vital reason.

Carbohydrates are broken down into two specific kinds. There are complex carbohydrates and there are simple carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates or sugars usually taste sweet. The common simple carbohydrates in foods are lactose, fructose, glucose, meltose, sucrose and galactose. There are only one or two sugar units in a molecule this is why they are called simple carbohydrates or simple sugars.

Complex carbohydrates or starches, do not usually taste sweet. Complex carbohydrates are made of chains of sugars that are very long, some as long as 3000 simple sugars. Our gastrointestinal system breaks down these complex carbohydrates directly into simple sugars and eventually to glucose, which is the sugar that is in your blood. The simple carbohydrates break down quicker compared to complex carbs. If you eat them from whole plant food it is much healthier, in other words, less processed or refined.

The majority of dietary fibers consist of complex carbs as well; however we cannot break them down inside our small intestines or stomach. Unfortunately we do not have enough of the proper enzymes to separate the sugar chains and break them apart so that they will pass intact down through our colon.

Every single plant, such as tomatoes, lettuce, onions, corn - are just a few, have the three macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates). Some of these carbohydrates or complex carbs are a little more concentrated or starchy, such as beans, grains and root vegetables. Starches such as these are an important part of our everyday diets.

10 to 15% of one's calories should be derived from fat and 10 to 15% additional from protein. The other 70-80% of the remaining caloric consumption really needs to consist of carbohydrates.

Low carbohydrate weight loss programs usually are not healthy. Bear in mind, every one of our food calories are derived from carbohydrates, protein and fat. Cutting back on carbohydrates means we automatically will increase the percent of protein and/or fat in our diets.

Excess fat leads to excessive weight or obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Excessive protein is linked with osteoporosis and kidney failure along with other health problems. Animal food products like poultry, beef, fish and pork, aren't anything except protein and fat. They are void of fiber and carbohydrates. Eating these alone will lead to disease and health issues.

So exactly what are carbohydrates? They are good for you! Eat your whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans and fruits etcetera - to your heart’s content, but keep in mind the right proportions of each of these macronutrients. You can actually eat yourself thin!


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