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Morgan Hill
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October 7, 2022

The great carb debate

There has been a lot of debate over the past few years as to the
benefits of eating carbohydrates (often referred to as
“carbs”). There are many people who believe that consuming
carbohydrates will “make them fat.”
There has been a lot of debate over the past few years as to the benefits of eating carbohydrates (often referred to as “carbs”).

There are many people who believe that consuming carbohydrates will “make them fat.” This idea originated with the fad diets of the 1970’s when people eliminated carbs from their diets and lost weight at an extremely fast rate.

What they didn’t realize was that the weight loss came from water, not fat. Therefore, it came as no surprise that when they added carbs back into their diets, the weight came back just as quickly as it was lost.

The fact of the matter is that carbohydrates are a necessary part of your diet. Its functions are very clear: to provide a major source of fuel to the body and provide dietary fiber, which helps the systems of the body to run smoothly.

Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates (or sugars) are easily digested and absorbed. They can be found in foods like fruit and milk, which also provide the body with vitamins and minerals.

However, much of the simple sugars consumed by the average person come in the form of soda, cookies, cakes and candy. These sources provide little or no nutrients, just calories.

Complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down. These are found in bread, rice, cereal and potatoes.

It should be noted, however, that complex carbohydrates made with white flour do not offer as many benefits as those made from whole wheat (or other whole grain) flour. In addition, complex carbohydrates provide fiber as well as vitamins and minerals.

It is important to recognize that carbohydrates are the body’s best source of energy. As these foods move through the digestive system, they are broken down into a form called glucose, which is usable by the body.

Glucose is the only form of carbohydrate that the body can use directly for energy and the only energy source used by the brain and the nervous system. Glucose can be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen and used for energy during exercise.

Carbohydrates are the most important nutrient for exercising muscles; even more so than protein.

If, during exercise, you are having trouble maintaining normal intensities, chances are that you do not have enough glycogen stores.

Unless adequate glycogen levels are reached, your performance will continue to suffer to the point that even low intensity exercise is difficult.

Carbohydrates also directly affect your body’s insulin levels. Insulin, substance produced and secreted by your pancreas, keeps the blood glucose levels in check.

Too much insulin in the bloodstream is a major contributing factor for diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.

For people without complications, insulin is released and levels out blood glucose levels when carbohydrates are consumed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designed a “Food Guide Pyramid” to aid us in eating healthy and balanced. The bottom level of the pyramid is the bread, rice, cereal and pasta group. The recommendation is for six to eleven servings per day, preferably of a complex carbohydrate although this is not specified.

A serving is a very specific amount. For example, one serving is one slice of bread or one ounce of cereal.

On the next level are fruits (two to four servings per day) and vegetables (three to five servings per day). Again, serving sizes are very specific, not all you can eat.

As you can see, carbohydrates are very important parts of your daily intake. If your diet is a “no carb” diet, you will miss many important nutrients and your body will not function properly.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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