If you want to eat a healthy and balanced diet, it is important to provide your body with: Three macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Remember that carbohydrates are our bodies major energy suppliers: they support brain function as well as our muscles and organs. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about this macronutrient.
table of contents:
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and fat). The structure of the carbohydrate unit is called a polysaccharide. Here we distinguish between simple sugars or monosaccharides (such as glucose and fructose), disaccharides (such as lactose and sucrose), disaccharides (starch or cellulose). These provide your body with energy.
How do carbohydrates affect your body?
Carbohydrates play an important role in covering the body’s energy needs. They are the most important fuel for your muscles and brain. One gram of the macronutrient contains four calories, as does protein. Fat, on the other hand, contains nine calories per gram – more than twice that.(1)
When you eat carbohydrates, whether it’s whole grain bread, pasta or chocolate, they are converted into glucose in your body. Your blood carries this glucose to your cells where it is converted into energy or stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen. The hormone insulin controls the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. If your glycogen stores are full, the excess carbohydrates are converted to fat.
Do not forget:
Carbs don’t make you fat. If you’re asking yourself, “Are carbohydrates good for you,” remember that it’s healthy People need the right amount of high-quality carbohydrates To be full and have enough energy. stay away from low-carb diets; Instead, eat a well-balanced diet Intuitive eating.
How many carbs should I eat?
The number of carbohydrates you should eat per day depends on several factors:
- to rise
- activity level
- Fitness goals
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) It recommends that you meet approximately 50% of your daily energy needs with carbohydrates.(2) Eat plenty of high-fiber foods and limit your intake of refined sugar (less than 10% of your total calorie intake). Ideally, 50 to 65% of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Studies have shown that both high and low carbohydrate consumption are associated with an increased risk of death.(3) As usual, a balanced diet is recommended.
You don’t need to weigh carbs to stay fit and healthy. Just be sure to include carbohydrates and fiber at every meal. If you combine this with healthy fats and protein, it will keep you full and your blood sugar stable for longer.
A healthy food plate should include:
- ¼ carbohydrate
- ¼ protein
- ½ vegetable
What foods are rich in carbohydrates?
Many foods contain carbohydrates:
- Vegetables (such as potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, etc.)
- Milk and dairy products
- Bread and whole grain products
- table sugar
- Sweetened beverages (such as sports drinks, iced tea, juices, etc.).
Types of Carbohydrates: Simple vs. Complex
When we talk about carbohydrates, we distinguish between two types: Complex and simple carbohydrates. Each of them affects our bodies in different ways.
- simple carbohydrates
… is found in processed sugar, white flour, products containing it, desserts, fruit juices, sports drinks, etc. Unlike complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood instantly and provide energy quickly.
- complex carbohydrates
… It has many benefits for the body. They are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than simple carbohydrates. This means that the level of sugar in the blood rises gradually. What is happening? You feel fuller for longer and have less desire to eat. Complex carbohydrates can be found in wholegrain products, rice, corn, millet, potatoes, fruits, lentils, beans, peas, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. They all contain B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, and protein, as well as fiber. The benefit of fiber is that it does not get digested, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.(4)
Do athletes need carbohydrates?
If you do a lot of sports and want to perform well, it is especially important to pay attention to it targeted carbohydrate consumption. However, the amount depends on your personal fitness goal. Do you want to know exactly how many carbs you need as an athlete? This carb calculator will help you figure out how many carbs you should be eating:
Don’t forget to eat enough protein, very. If you eat a high-protein meal with no carbohydrates, the body may only be able to use 10% of the protein, because insulin (which the body produces once you eat carbohydrates) is not available. This is why protein and carbohydrates are important components of a balanced diet for athletes.(5)
Should Eat a small snack Contain carbohydrates and protein about 15 to 30 minutes before exercise and drink some water.
- Before exercise, eat Greek yogurt with berriesWhole grain bread, an egg, a banana with some peanut butter, or a granola ribbon. Many of these foods contain magnesium and B vitamins, which boost your energy for exercise.
- after the training You should also eat a mixture of protein and carbohydrates (whey protein, fruit, chicken, brown rice, eggs, and toast). The rule of thumb is a ratio of carbohydrates to protein 2:1. However, this can vary depending on your fitness goals.
What do you eat before, during and after exercise
We have the best overview of intra-workout nutrition. Find out how nutrition differs for cardio and strength training.
Carbohydrates are the macronutrients – conclude
Are carbohydrates good for you? The answer is yes! Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, especially for athletes. How much you should eat depends on various factors. Include a carbohydrate source at each meal and consider the types of carbohydrates you eat. Choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones. This will ensure that your body gets enough energy. You’ll also have enough fiber in your diet to keep blood sugar stable, feel full, and support healthy digestion.