What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, pronounced (car-bo-hi-drayts) are sugars that provide the body with energy. Your body can break carbohydrates down quickly and efficiently.
Carbohydrate rich foods in their natural state are low in calories and high in fiber. Carbohydrates contain about 4 calories per gram. Fat contains about 9 calories per gram.
Function of Carbohydrates
The main function of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy. Carbohydrates usually provide about have of your body's energy when your resting or performing a low-level activity. Carbohydrates are important components of building muscle.
Where are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates in our bodies
When carbohydrates are in our body, they are being broken down and used as energy. When the body doesn't need to use the carbohydrates for energy, it stores them into the liver and muscles. When carbohydrates are stored in your liver and muscles, it is called glycogen. When the liver and muscles cells cannot store anymore glycogen, it is turned into fat.
When your body needs a quick boost of energy, it converts glycogen into energy. When it needs a prolonged burst of energy, it converts fat to energy.
Kinds of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are divided into 2 groups: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates are also called simple sugars. Simple carbohydrates include: fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (milk sugar), as well as several other sugars. Simple carbohydrates are great sources of quick energy.
Complex carbohydrates include fiber and starches. They can be found in vegetables, bread, rice, oatmeal, whole grains, peas and beans. Complex carbohydrates take longer to be digested, so your body needs more time to release these carbs into your blood as glucose.
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