The carbohydrates, along with fats and proteins are the main suppliers of energy for your body. Especially it is the brain, which meets its energy needs mainly with carbohydrates; therefore, at least half of your daily caloric need should come from carbohydrates. These are found mostly in plant foods, such as pasta, potatoes, fruit, and vegetables, but also in some animal sources, such as milk.
SIMPLE SUGARS (MONOSACCHARIDES)
Monosaccharides are carbohydrates that are made up of a single sugar molecule, for example, dextrose and fructose, also known as glucose and fruit sugar. Glucose causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and thereby generates new energy quickly. It is found, for example, in fruit, honey, and sweets.
COMPLEX SUGARS (DISACCHARIDES)
Disaccharides are made up of two sugar molecules, for example, milk sugar (lactose), cane sugar, beet sugar, and table sugar. Dairy products, but also sweet foods like chocolate, jam, and cookies, contain many monosaccharides and disaccharides.
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES (POLYSACCHARIDES)
Polysaccharides are also called complex carbohydrates because they are made up of 10 or more molecules. Since the body assimilates them more slowly, the level of sugar in the blood also increases slowly and they fill you for longer. For this reason, polysaccharides should represent the majority of carbohydrates ingested in the diet.
They are found, for example, in rolled oats, rice, and potatoes. Polysaccharides also give you important vitamins and minerals. A special form is vegetable fibers, which we find especially in whole grain products. The fiber keeps your stomach and your intestines healthy and facilitates good digestion and regulated.
|FOODS||Carbohydrates per 100 g|
|Basmati rice||78.0 g|
|Pasta (durum wheat)||73.0 g|
|Red lentils||50.0 g|
|Hokkaido pumpkin||12.6 g|
Not all rice is the same; there are very different types of rice. If you try to control the amounts of carbohydrates you eat, you should always eat whole grain rice. A grain of wheat, for example, consists of 3 parts: the pericarp or outer skin (which is commonly known as “bran”), the germ and the endosperm or nucleus.
In the pericarp, which is the hardest part of the grain, there is the greatest amount of fiber and minerals. The germ, for its part, would be like the embryo of the future wheat plant and contains most of the total protein of the grain. The bulk, so to speak, of the grain, is made up of the kernel, where we find almost 100% of the starch.
If we want to obtain the maximum amount of fiber and minerals we must worry about resorting to the complex carbohydrates present in whole grain products.
In the context of diet, it is often referred to as “good” carbohydrates and “bad” carbohydrates. In the classification of good carbohydrates, we find all varieties of whole-grain products. This is because the whole grain is more nutritious and digested more slowly, which, in turn, explains the longer satiating effect that characterizes them.
Among the bad carbohydrates, we find, on the contrary, products composed mainly of simple and double sugars. These can be processed by our body faster and therefore have a greater influence on blood sugar levels.
Our carbohydrate chart will help you progressively replace bad carbohydrates with whole-grain alternatives.
|White bread||Wholemeal breads|
|White rice||Brown rice|
|Conventional pasta||Wheat pasta|
Some experts recommend covering 50% of our energy needs through carbohydrates. To get an idea of how much this means, we must first find out our metabolic rate. By accessing here you will be able to know your usual caloric consumption. Basically, the more activity we do throughout the day, the more calories our body will require. Don’t neglect your carbohydrate intake also in the form of fruits and vegetables. About 5 servings a day is the minimum recommended amount.
If you want to lose weight, we recommend a low-carbohydrate diet, substituting high-calorie carbohydrates for high-quality protein. We have replaced high-calorie carbohydrates with high-quality protein sources. For a sure success, be sure to visit our free BMI, where you will get all the information you need to meet your goals. In addition, you will find valuable advice about your diet and your training. If you consume carbohydrates, you should try to eat fewer monosaccharides and disaccharides and more complex carbohydrates, that is, foods with a low glycemic index.
The glycemic index indicates how quickly a food causes a rise in blood sugar. Fish, meat, vegetables, lettuce, nuts, legumes, and whole grains have a low glycemic index, are filling for longer, and also provide a lot of energy during a diet.
AT WHAT TIMES DO WE HAVE TO EAT CARBOHYDRATES?
In general, we can eat carbohydrates when we want. To achieve your individual goals, you must first and foremost control your calorie intake. In addition to carbohydrates, other good sources of energy are proteins and fats. 1 g of protein and 1 g of carbohydrates contain 4.1 kcal. 1 g fat contains 9.3 kcal. Depending on what objective you have set for yourself:
- To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn!
- To gain weight, eat more calories than you burn!
- To maintain your weight, eat exactly the same calories as you burn!
In our article on healthy eating, you will learn more about the different energy providers and how you can go to them in a healthy way.
Combined with your training, energy suppliers will help you perform at your best. The carbohydrates ingested before practicing sports will be responsible for covering your energy needs during it, instead of your fat reserves. Long-chain carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat pasta, we must consume about 2 hours of training. On the other hand, short-chain carbohydrates, such as bananas, can be converted into energy more quickly, so we can take them just 20 minutes before our training.
After training, carbohydrates are responsible for muscle and liver regeneration (glycogen), instead of our fat reserves doing it. In this task, we also find a great ally in short-chain carbohydrates in combination with high-quality protein, which we can find in the form of a protein shake. For our whey protein, for example, we only use milk from cows that graze outside.