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What types of carbohydrates are there?

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

What are carbohydrates?

The  Carbohydrates or carbohydrates  are the main source of energy for our body. They are present in most of the foods that we consume in the diet, and their contribution is important since our body does not synthesize them, but rather they are provided in the diet.

Lately, carbohydrates have been demonized by different famous diets that restrict their consumption to the maximum, making them guilty of obesity or overweight, as well as other diseases that derive from their consumption.

Mainly, it should be noted that carbohydrates are necessary in our diet, and that we must provide our body with all the nutrients it needs, and in the case of carbohydrates, being an essential macronutrient for the development of our body, we must bear in mind that our body needs them.

Although it is true, we generally consume more than necessary, so it is important to make a correct adjustment in the diet of all macronutrients. Mainly carbohydrates, they are essential but like fats, they provide us with a large amount of calories.

Types of carbohydrates

It is convenient to know how to differentiate the different types of carbohydrates.

Those of slow absorption (Complex) and those of fast absorption (Simple) . The difference between one and the other lies in the speed of their absorption by our body, that is, the time that passes from when we ingest them until our body absorbs them and they are available for use. The absorption of carbohydrates is very important when choosing the consumption of a type of carbohydrate, according to the needs of our body.

Our body needs hydrates to cope with daily activity and also to recover from muscular and physical wear and tear.

That is why high performance athletes use glucose gels; a simple sugar, to recharge with energy in the middle of physical activity.

And they also use isotonic drinks to rebuild themselves hydrically, which also contain carbohydrates to recover glycogen reserves and allow the body to recover faster from physical and muscular wear and tear .

Generally, after the activity they also need simple sugars to recover quickly.

For this reason, we must know well what our need is, since if what we need is a quick energy supply so that our body can soon have carbohydrates; then we will opt for simple sugars.

However, the healthiest for the body, because they make our organs work more slowly, are complex hydrates; since they do not produce rapid changes in blood glucose levels.

What is the glycemic index?

The main function of Carbohydrates is to provide energy to the body and this energy is provided in the form of glucose, which our body metabolizes and stores in the glucose reserves that are distributed in our muscles, as well as in the bloodstream. .

It is very important to know that the Carbohydrate Glycemic Index is a numerical measure that indicates the speed by which a carbohydrate converts into glucose in the blood.

Blood glucose values ​​must be within certain limits, when they are exceeded, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin whose function is to transport glucose from the blood to the cells and thus regulate and keep the blood glucose content stable.

Imbalances in glucose levels are detrimental to our health, which is why complex long-chain carbohydrates are healthier , since they are gradually released in our body; without producing significant glucose alterations that make our body work quickly.

Carbohydrates and low-calorie diets

As we have mentioned previously, carbohydrates are, in the eyes of many, the culprits of being overweight, because we generally consume them in excess; but we must be careful when restricting them, since we could fall into a state of ketosis , due to a carbohydrate deficit.

This is what the Ketogenic diet raises for weight loss, a state of controlled ketosis so that our body burns the fat accumulated in the reserves of adipose tissue .

Other diets, such as the Dukan diet , also promote the maximum restriction of carbohydrates, and that is how a rapid weight loss occurs but with a very high rebound effect, since the moment you start consuming carbohydrates from the usual way, you regain the lost weight.

Another one of the diets that has become fashionable lately, is the diet zero carbohydrates , a diet that eliminates the consumption of these; restricting the foods that are most loaded, but it is very difficult to eliminate them completely because even vegetables have amounts, although low, of carbohydrates.

Eating foods with a medium-low glycemic index will help us prevent diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

 List of Foods by Glycemic Index
 Medium-High GI (unhealthy) Medium-Low GI (healthier)
 Glucose 100 Wheat bread 50
 Maltose 100 Wheat Pasta 50
 Gluten-free white bread 95 Integral rice 50
 Chips 95 Rye bread 40
 Honey, Jam 90 Avena 40
 Cornflakes 85 Broad beans, Green peas 35
 Carrots 85 Dairy products 35
 Tapioca 85 Fruit compote (unsweetened) 35
 Cookies 70 Natural fruits 30
 Rice70 Berries 25
 Pastas70 Chickpeas, lentils, beans 25
 Corn70 Artichokes 20
 Cooked potatoes70 Soy milk 20
 Raisins65 Nuts 15
 Bananas60 Vegetables 15
 Pizzas60 Meat, fish and shellfish 0

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