Thursday, February 12, 2009

Carbo

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, along with fats and protein, are one of the three main classes of food. Carbohydrates are organic compounds consisting mainly of sugars, starches and fiber. Carbohydrates contain carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
Carbohydrate monomers are called monosaccharides e.g. glucose and fructose.


Plants make carbohydrates during photosynthesis and store them as any of the saccharides (sugars). They are used primarily for energy in the body. If carbohydrate isn't used in short order, it is stored. A certain amount can be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, and the rest is stored as fat. Carbohydrate polymers e.g. starch, glycogen and cellulose are formed from many monomers joined by glycosidic bonds. Unlike protein and essential fats, our bodies can get along without dietary carbohydrate if needed

Except for the carbohydrates like fiber that aren't broken down into glucose before they get to the colon, all carbs end up as sugar. Starches, or complex carbohydrates, are just longer strings of sugar.

Grain foods are an easy way to ensure you meet your carbohydrate needs. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines and Food Guide Pyramid recommend adults have at least six servings of grains a day. One serving of grains can be:1 slice of bread1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal ½ cup of cooked rice or pastaAt least half of your total daily grains should come from whole grains.

Misconception: Starches (complex carbohydrates) are broken down slowly in our bodies.

Not true. The vast majority of the carbs in the grocery store are rapidly digested. This is because the food manufacturers have kindly begun the process for us, by grinding grains into flour, refining grains and sugar, puffing rice and making it into rice cakes, etc. Whole wheat flour is almost as glycemic is white flour (though it is much more nutritious).

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