Carbohydrates: Cell Fuel

Carbohydrates make a good meal and an affordable and tasty treat. They are a global favorite and the most abundant food source on the planet.  Plants, vegetables, fruits, grains, even milk, are all natural sources of carbohydrates. If that is not enough, food industry provides us with a steady supply of ready to eat carbohydrate packed food, such as cookies, breads and cereals. Rich and good, they are both necessary and a sinful source of calories.

While carbohydrates are good for us, excessive intake can lead to weight gain. Let’s see how that happens. All organs, tissues and cells in our body need glucose to keep running. Ingested carbohydrates are broken down to  glucose which is used by cells to fuel metabolic processes that keep us alive. By digesting glucose, body gains energy for optimum organ and tissue function. Depending on our cells’ energy reserves, glucose is either used right away to provide energy or stored in cells for later by being converted to glycogen in liver. Like any storage unit, cells have a limited capacity. Once filled, they cannot store any more. Therein lays the danger. Once glucose and glycogen storage is completely full, excess glucose is converted to fat. Too much of that and excess carbohydrates intake results in weight gain.

Not all carbohydrates are equally good. Depending on their size, our body burns them at different rates. And in a race to maintain healthy weight, ideally we want to ingest carbohydrates that take longer to burn. Complex carbohydrates, make a better nutritional choice that simple carbohydrates. Being significantly larger that simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates take longer to break down. The more time it takes to break them down, the longer the time before we feel hungry again. The longer it takes us to get hungry, the less likely we are to overeat. Similarly, unrefined carbohydrates are a better choice than refined carbohydrates.  Unrefined  carbohydrates come with naturally prepackaged vitamins and minerals that help drive digestion.

While carbohydrate intake should never exceed the recommended daily amount of 45% to 60% of total ingested calories, meeting the minimum is essential for healthy metabolism. In addition to providing energy, carbohydrates regulate blood glucose, maintain healthy body structure by preventing protein wasting, aid in breakdown of fats, participate in cell signaling and recognition, promote reproduction, enable growth and development, aid digestion and help maintain normal regularity.

Choosing the right carbohydrate can be tricky, but not impossible. Avoid or minimize cookies, cakes, and do not add sugar to your coffee or tea. These are simple sugars and will not provide a long burn your body needs. Instead of white rice, order brown or red rice. Instead of potatoes, order yams. And instead of white bread, order 12 grain, 7 grain or full wheat bread.  Try whole wheat pasta- it is very tasty. Do this on daily basis and watch the magic happen.

For more information on healthy carbohydrates, check our products on Herbal Diet today.

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2 Responses to “Carbohydrates: Cell Fuel”

  1. Loretta Mirr says:

    Thanks for the great post I was searching for information for a article im writing

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