Carbohydrates: Diet Fuel

Today's post was written by guest blogger, Catherine Daniels. She gives us some great insight on the importance of carbohydrates for our bodies. After all, carbs aren't evil. In fact, we need them to stay healthy. Read on!

 

Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the human body. 
Photo credit: Morguefile

They burn much faster than fat because they produce ATPs (adenosine triphosphate) which is the main source of energy for muscle contraction.

Digestible carbohydrates are classified as simple or complex, and are found in grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Plants store starch as a food reserve making seeds and cereals as well as peas and potatoes rich sources of starch.
 
Daily Intake of Carbohydrates
As long as you have enough carbohydrates, proteins will be spared for creation of energy which is their main function. One gram of carbohydrates releases 4 kcal so that means that our nervous system needs around 60g of carbohydrates each day.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy and they provide fuel for normal functioning of our body. The ideal proportion of carbohydrates compared to the rest of the nutrients is 50-50. This is approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of the overall body weight. Of course, this depends on your energy level, activities and goals. If you are trying to pack on some weight you should increase this optimal rate. 

The Importance of Fruits
Fruits are the perfect carbohydrate because they digest slowly. They satisfy a sweet tooth and do not lead to a spike in insulin because fruit contains powerful phytochemicals.

Watermelon is an excellent source of lycopene and antioxidants that help prevent heart diseases, defend the body from cancer and stimulate muscle recovery. 

Strawberries contain a larger amount of antioxidants and vitamin C than oranges and they are good for bones and joints.

Mango is a rich source of vitamin C and carotenoids. 

Pineapple contains enzymes that can help improve the health of our joints.

Based on the content of carbohydrates, fresh fruits should be divided into three groups:

  1. Those with less carbohydrates which you can consume in large quantities: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cornelian cherries, melons, berries, citrus, rowan, medlar, oranges and tangerines.
  1. Those with more carbohydrates which should be consumed in small quantities: apricots, peach, plum, apple sauce, orange juice, tangerine juice, apricots, peaches.
  1. Those with the most carbohydrates which should be consumed occasionally: apples, cherries, pears, grapes, bananas, fresh figs, pineapples, mangoes and avocados.
So, eat fruit more often. Enjoy fruit raw to get the most nutrition out of them. 

Catherine Daniels is a freelance writer and fitness enthusiast who promotes fruit-enriched diets and healthy living.

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