Are there healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients found naturally in plant foods, including peas and beans, nuts and seeds, grains, dairy and dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
The other two macronutrients are dietary fat and protein.
The word “carbohydrate” is an umbrella term that describes various types of sugar-containing molecules found in foods.
Generally, there are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches, and dietary fiber.
They can be further classified into simple or complex carbohydrates, depending on the number and type of sugar molecules – such as glucose – that each structure contains.
Also called “simple sugars”, “sugars” or “saccharides», These carbohydrates contain between one and 10 sugar molecules and are present in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Those containing one or two sugar molecules are called monosaccharides and disaccharides, respectively, while those containing up to 10 sugar molecules are called oligosaccharides.
Lactose, the main sugar in animal milk, is a disaccharide made up of the monosaccharides glucose and galactose.
Complex carbohydrates are made up of
Starches are the storage carbohydrates in peas and beans, grains and vegetables, and they provide energy to the body.
This phenomenon, which some researchers call “
This finding suggests that instead of all carbohydrates being “created equal,” some options are better for your health than others.
Carbohydrates that people may consider unhealthy because they are less nutritious include:
- refined carbohydrates, such as polished rice and flour
- sugary drinks, such as sodas and fruit juices
- highly processed snacks, including cookies and pastries
According to existing research, a diet with a higher intake of these types of carbohydrates and fewer more nutritious options can increase markers of
Excessive consumption of simple
However, studies distinguish that added sugars and simple sugars found naturally in foods may not have the same negative effects.
New research continues to shed light on the detrimental health effects of these so-called unhealthy carbohydrate foods.
Experts recommend eat a balanced diet that consists mostly of nutritious foods and only include these types of carbohydrates in moderation.
More nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrate that people generally consider to be healthy include:
- fruits, such as bananas, apples and berries
- non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, and tomatoes
- whole grains, such as whole grain flour, brown rice, and quinoa
- peas and beans, such as black beans, lentil peas, or chickpeas
- dairy and dairy products, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
Research has linked diets high in these complex carbohydrates, such as
Researchers attribute many of these benefits to the dietary fiber content of complex carbohydrates.
For example, dietary fiber from whole fruits
In addition, improve the quality of the diet by including more complex carbohydrates and dietary fibers
The GI is a measure of the potential for increased blood sugar of a single food containing carbohydrates compared to pure glucose.
Low GI foods, which are mostly complex carbohydrates, have minimal effects on blood sugar. They include whole grains and non-starchy vegetables. High GI foods include potatoes and foods with added sugars.
Likewise, people use GL to gauge how likely a particular meal is to raise blood sugar.
Although people have used both GI and GL for decades to guide meal planning and manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, the science is
Numerous studies suggest that a
The GI of a food may therefore not be a direct predictor of an individual’s glycemic response.
Differences in glycemic response between individuals make it difficult to determine which carbohydrates are truly the healthiest, since even whole grains
Despite the popularity of
Among members of the general population with a high carbohydrate intake,
Therefore, for populations that consume 65-75% of their daily calories as carbohydrates,
A carbohydrate restriction of 45% or less of daily calories is
Before making any changes to their diet, people should consult a doctor or dietitian to determine their specific carbohydrate needs in order to optimize their health.
Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient, providing the body with energy and dietary fiber to support good health.
Excessive carbohydrate consumption is associated with weight gain and an increased risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Despite their bad reputation, carbohydrates provide many health benefits when a person frequently consumes sources of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber in favor of refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks.
In addition, the ideal diet varies among individuals. For example, a diet rich in carbohydrates optimizes athletic performance.
However, non-athletic populations who consume 65-75% of their daily calories from carbohydrates see their blood sugar levels decrease most sharply when they reduce their calorie intake from carbohydrates to 50-55% of their intake. daily energy.
Carbohydrates aren’t bad when people manage the amount and types they eat and tailor them to their specific needs.