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Carbohydrates make up a large portion of your everyday eating. They’re an important part of your diet - but can also be the most dangerous. A common enough habit is that people slowly increase their carbohydrate intake over time. While this is necessary to a certain extent, as carbs are our main source of energy, and because we need more energy as we reach adulthood, it often gets taken too far. Too many carbs mean excess calories and this eventually leads to obesity.
It can be difficult to reduce your carbohydrate intake after you’ve gotten used to a certain amount. This is why it is important to keep a constant eye on your consumption. There are different kinds of carbohydrates, some worse than others, and a better understanding of the carbs you are eating will lead to a healthier life.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are a large and varied group of organic compounds that serve multiple purposes. Their main purpose, as we very well know, is to give us the energy we need to go about our daily lives. The carbohydrates we eat are broken down by the body to create glucose, which is where we get our energy from. You might understand now how carbohydrates and diabetes are linked, but we’ll come to that later.
Carbohydrates serve other purposes as well, but this is its core purpose. Of course, we get our energy from fats and protein too, but the chief portion of it comes from carbs.
Why Should We Eat Carbohydrates and Why Shouldn’t We Eat Too Much?
So, carbs give us energy. Why can’t we have more?
Because too much carbs result in an excess of sugar, or glucose, which our body’s insulin hormone can’t handle, if great enough. This excess intake of carbs is one of the chief reasons for diabetes, a devastating and incurable illness. As you take in more carbs, your blood glucose levels spike. The pancreas take care of regulating this increase through insulin. Eventually, however, it may be unable to do so, leading to all the symptoms of diabetes.
That said, carbs are required. There is such a thing as ‘good carbs’ which is the healthier, less glucose affecting kind. These carbs do not create the same negative effects as, say, the carbs in a pile of French fries.
These good carbs break down differently as compared to the bad ones. They do so much more slowly, which means that the glucose obtained from the carbs is released much more slowly than it is in the bad ones. This makes it manageable to deal with for the insulin.
Sources of Carbohydrates
We’ll tell you first what you should be avoiding: all junk food, white bread, refined foods, soda, candy, sugar and desserts. It may be hard to resist, but it’s necessary for a healthy living.
Of the good carbs, you’ll be pleased to know there’s plenty of choice. If you’re the kind of person who eats rice, brown rice is the way to go. It’s brimming with health benefits and is a great staple. Quinoa is a slightly more exotic choice which is also a good carb. Lastly, we suggest for breakfast a cup or two of oatmeal. Oatmeal is a power packed meal that can really last you through the day. It offers a significant portion of the daily nutritional requirements.
We hope you now have a better understanding of carbohydrates. Knowing what you put on your plate is very important. The old adage ‘You are what you eat’ is as relevant as ever. Since carbs form such a large part of your diet, it is especially important that you keep an eye on the carbs you eat. Watch out for the bad ones, try to eat more of the goods ones and of course, make sure you get some exercise. Exercise and a good diet is the only real way of gaining a healthy body.
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