The Role of Carbohydrates and Carbohydrate Nutrition Information

By | December 3, 2008

Effect of Too Much Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy to the system and contain four calories per gram. They are converted into glucose, after breakdown. Increase in dietary carbohydrates results in its conversion to triglycerides, which are stored in the form of adipose tissue. This in turn results in gain of extra pounds. Carbohydrates increase insulin resistance. It also raises the levels of triglycerides. Sucrose and fructose are the sugars seen in soft drinks, desserts and juices. They increase the bad or LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol and thus increase the risk of heart diseases. It is especially common in those who are affected genetically.

Refined and processed carbohydrates, in the form of refined flour, refined sugar and so on are not preferred. Grinding and milling of cereals result in the removal of nutrient rich germ and fiber rich bran. Carbohydrates and glycemic index are important, when considering a good meal plan. Glycemic index is a value of carbohydrates, which reflects the response of the blood to a particular food, with respect to bread as the standard factor. High glycemic index food, above seventy, result in many complications such as diabetes, atherosclerosis and so on.

Extremely low levels of carbohydrates are harmful, as it results in ketogenic states. This affects the flexibility and cognitive functioning of the individual. Long term low carb diets result in ketosis, which is accompanied by sluggishness, fatigue and lethargy. Ketosis is a metabolic disorder, which is associated with accumulation of ketones. These are a by product of fat breakdown. Excess body protein, constipation and gas are the other side effects of ketosis. Increase in ketones result in loss of water and electrolytes. This in turn, causes a reduction in weight loss.

Effect of Deficiency of Carbohydrates

Dietary fiber is a form of carbohydrates in the diet, which contributes to a number of beneficial effects. Fiber in the diet is seen in two forms namely, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber opposes the absorption of cholesterol, and thus decreases the blood cholesterol levels. It also delays gastric emptying and decreases the pace of absorption of blood glucose. Oat bran, seeds, nuts, vegetables and legumes are good sources of soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps in removal of stools, as it provides bulk to the same. It prevents constipation and diverticulitis and also reduces the risk of cancer in the colon. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes and nuts are good sources of insoluble fiber. Fiber increases satiety and provides satiety. It thus decreases the intake and plays a vital role in weight reduction diets. Excessive fiber in the diet results in flatulence or gas, thus causing discomfort in the abdomen region. This is attributed to the gas forming bacteria in the colon. This effect is temporary and can be overcome with adequate hydration. About eight glasses of water is recommended, on a daily basis.