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Carbohydrates: Fuel for Living

Submitted by Loring A. Windblad on July 21, 2010

Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars by the body and used as the main source of energy. There two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates: Refined sugars contain simple carbohydrates. So you can find these simple carbohydrates in white sugar, lollipops, and candies. Fruits and milk also contain simple carbohydrates. In fact, you should eat more of fruits as these are packed with vitamins and fiber, and the simple sugar that you get from fruits is healthy.

Complex carbohydrates: Known as starches, these are found in rice, pasta, crackers, bread and other grain products.


There are some complex carbohydrate foods that are better than others. Unrefined grains or whole grain products are healthier than the refined version as these contain minerals and vitamins. These grains also have a lot of fibre and aid digestion.


So for your carbohydrate fix, you might like to tuck into a bowl of oatmeal than dig into sugary candy bars.

Processing carbohydrates: When a person eats carbohydrates, those are broken down into simple sugars. The sugars are then absorbed into the blood and the level of the blood sugar in the body rises. When this happens, the pancreas release insulin, which in turn moves the sugar from the blood right into the cells.


The sugar is then used as energy.

When you have refined foods, the whole process takes place very quickly, and this makes you feel hungry very soon. But if you eat wholegrain foods, then the process will take longer and you will feel full for a longer time. Complex carbohydrates give you energy to sustain for a longer time.

It is a good idea to eat more of complex carbohydrates than simple sugars.

Sports nutrition: Athletes rely a lot on carbohydrates to meet their energy requirements.


You might play tennis, badminton, football, or prefer running or swimming, carbohydrates will give you the energy that will be needed for muscle contradictions. Carbohydrates are broken into galactose, fructose, and glucose. If the energy is not being used immediately, then it is stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. But when the body has enough glycogen, then the excess sugars are turned into fat.

When you are exercising, then glycogen is used for energy resources. Experts say that glycogen fuels the body when you begin playing a sport. Glycogen is also used to break down the fats and turn into a form of energy that the muscles can use when they are active.
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