Majority of you will be astonished to know, especially those who think Carbohydrates as their enemies, that “Carbohydrates” are also known as BRAIN FOODS” and that too for a reason.
Reason: Even though other macronutrients can replace carbohydrates for providing energy to the body, but they can’t replace carbohydrates for its special ability of providing energy to the brain. No other macro or micro nutrient can energize the brain other than carbohydrates.
So, now I assume nobody’s gonna hate it anymore!
Carbohydrates or Carbs are the sugar, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.
The body breaks these down into glucose, a simple sugar that is further utilized to feed the cells.
With tremendous properties of carbohydrates, it executes multiple functions.
Functions of Carbohydrates.
- Carbs are the main source of energy for the body.
- They regulate the blood glucose in the body.
- Carbs are the main source of B vitamins in the body.
- Carbs prevents the breakdown of proteins for energy.
- Carbs help with fat metabolism ( low carb diet leads to poor metabolism).
- They helps in breakdown of fatty acids and prevents ketosis.
- They help clear gut and prevents constipation.
- Carbs form a part of genetic material like DNA and RNA.
- It helps make up the body mass.
- It forms components of bio molecules which have a key role in blood clotting.
Types of Carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates can be basically sub-classified into two types:
Simple carbs and Complex carbs.
|SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES||COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES|
|They are also known as Bad Carbs.||They are known as Good Carbs.|
|These have high glycemic index, therefore quickly raises blood sugar levels.||These have low glycemic index, therefore doesn’t raises blood sugar.|
|It leads to weight gain & fat gain.||It helps in weight loss and management.|
|These are low in fiber content.||These are high in fiber and water content.|
|These are responsible for increasing your appetite, and you will feel hungry soon again.||These keep you full and satisfied for longer period of time.|
|These must be limited or even avoided in diet for weight loss.||Eat more of complex carbs to lose weight.|
|Examples of simple carbs are processed food, refined food, desserts, breads, cereals, fruit juices or aerated drinks etc.||Examples of complex carbs are whole grains, vegetables, whole fruits, legumes, pulses & pseudo grains etc.|
Now that we know the importance of carbohydrates and the types of carbohydrates, which one is better! Another very important question is “HOW MUCH?”
How many carbs in a day are good to go?
Dietary Recommendation for Carbohydrates.
- The dietary guidelines recommends that 45-60% of our daily calories should come from carbs.
- For weight loss, at least 40-50% of daily calories (average of 45%) should come from carbs
- Minimum 125g ( 125 * 4 = 500 minimum calorie from carbs per day )
- 5 to 10g / kg body weight ( 56*5 = 280g carbs/day) is a must carbohydrate consumption.
- At least 350-400g should be composed of carbohydrate in a diet of 1400-1600 calories ( 2700 calorie diet).
Now if a certain nutrient is required by your body, and you forcefully resist it, then you have to face the consequences obviously.
Side effects of a low carbs diet are as follows.
Side Effects of Carbohydrate Deficit.
- Hair fall and dull skin.
- Hormonal Imbalance.
- Anxiety and mood swings.
- Low feeling.
To avoid all these side effects from happening, we have to ensure that we include sufficient quantity of carbs in our diet!
Not only carbs, every nutrient whether it is a macro or micro, they should be properly balanced in the diet.
What does a BALANCED MEAL looks alike?
- 50 % of your diet should consist of seasonal vegetables which have fiber. Salad, steamed vegetables, cooked sabzi are few examples.
- Visible fat and probiotics should also form part of this 50%.
- 25% of your meal should be constituted of protein. Lentil, legumes, beans, eggs, lean meat and fish are decent sources of protein.
- And the remaining balance should be achieved by covering the rest 25% of the meal by adding complex carbs including whole grain, roti, rice, dalia, upma etc.
Balanced diet never goes in vain. It ensures proper and adequate functioning of the body and minimizes the risk of any disorders, deficiencies, or diseases.