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high school chemistry
carbon hydrogen
plant cells
animals and plants
energy from the sun
proper nutrition
plant matter
physical energy
sweet things
What Are Carbohydrates And Why Do We Need Them
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What Are Carbohydrates And Why Do We Need Them

In order to understand proper nutrition you must understand basic components of foods. One of them, carbohydrates or "carbs" is molecules which are based on carbon, hydrogen and oxygen more commonly known as sugars and starches. Don't think that by "sugars" the word means only sweet things. Sugars, in a more general sense, is anything created by plant matter as a product of photosynthesis. So, as an example, there is just as much carbohydrate in a strawberry, lemon, broccoli or asparagus. Just consider that this is a product of plant growth and any plant you eat will have them.

Plant cells are unique in that they create carbohydrates from the raw atoms of carbon dioxide and water. This is done by trapping the energy from sunlight in the bonds of the new carbohydrate molecule. Both plant and animal cells, including humans, can take the energy back out of a carbohydrate and use it as ATP. So much for the high school chemistry. The key idea here is that the process of taking energy from the sun, turning it into carbohydrates and eventually using it in your body is the only way to get energy into your body.

In fact, whether you eat only plants (i.e. vegetarian or herbivore) or a mixture of animals and plants (i.e. meat and potato kind of person or omnivore) at some point the energy from the carbohydrate was metabolized back into useful energy. In fact that is the whole purpose of your metabolism. The metabolism literally means "to change" and it indicates how the food you eat becomes useful energy. As such carbohydrates are the staple of a high energy diet. In fact for people that use a lot of physical energy their needs for foods high in carbohydrates (i.e. farmers, laborers, etc.) are a necessity. In modern society, however, you aren't likely to need as much energy, there for you will need fewer carbohydrates in their nutrition. Most people work at a job that requires far less activity and accordingly their bodies don't use the carbohydrates they take in.

Unfortunately the body has a ready mechanism to store unused carbohydrates by converting them to fat. Don't misunderstand, CARBOHYDRATES DO NOT EQUAL FAT, but you did need to be mindful about the quantity you take in on any day or meal. Basically anything you eat will have carbohydrates in one form or another in them, and your nutrition is dependent upon it. You will discover innumerable diets which will focus on one food type or the other of the carbohydrates, fats, proteins but all are necessary for a healthy body. Just keep in mind these two important rules.

Carbohydrates are perfect for quick energy, but not for long term energy. Eating carbohydrates is much like the Price Is Right: try eating just enough without going over. So, sure, drink a sports drink when you are performing exercises. Have a helping of mashed potatoes when you are destined to be doing work in your garden all day long. Just keep close track of the carbohydrates if you are going to be a professional couch potato. A meal with the proper nutrition will include carbohydrates, fats and proteins.


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