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Understanding Good and Bad Carbohydrate Foods

Jul 9, 2014

Carbohydrate foods are essential for the proper functioning of our body. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy. Some foods contain large amount of carbohydrates, while some have a lower concentration. Eating the right amount of carbohydrates is crucial.

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Carbohydrate Intake

Most people opt for a low-carb diet for weight loss. However, your carb intake should be well balanced. Low-carb diets can be harmful. There is a minimum amount of carbohydrates required for your body to function properly. Each gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories. You body needs around 40%-60% of calories from carbohydrates, and anything lower than this isn't healthy.

Types of Carbs

There are two types of carbs: starches and sugars. Sugars are simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested by the body. They include foods like candy jellies, soda, cake and fruits. Starches are complex carbohydrates that take very long to get digested by the body. Noodles, breads, grains, pasta and vegetables are some of the starch based carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables and dairy products are great sources of carbohydrates. 

Some carbohydrate foods provide very little nutrition to the body, and these are known as empty carbs. Foods made from corn syrup, honey, sugar and molasses may be simple carbohydrates, but add extra calories with a low amount of nutrients. Too many calories can result in weight gain. 

Effects of Excessive Carbohydrate Intake

A diet rich in carbohydrates can upset the blood sugar level of the body. It can lead to frequent irritation and mood swings. You must balance carbohydrates with some protein, fiber and fat. Refined carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, low-fiber and simple sugars can be dangerous to the body if their intake is not properly balanced.

Good Carbohydrate Foods

Carbohydrate foods like nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are all good carbohydrate foods. They are useful and healthy for your body. You should incorporate these carbohydrate foods in your diet on a regular basis.

Bad Carbohydrate Foods

Refined grain carbohydrates are unhealthy, as they have been depleted of their original fiber content (think of foods made from white flour like cakes, cookies, white bread, etc). Their carbohydrate energy is soaked quickly like other simple sugars. Whole grains are healthier than refined carbohydrates.

A low carb diet can be harmful to the body, as the body gets the required glucose from the brain and red blood cells. In such a case, the liver and the kidneys have to metabolize protein for producing essential glucose needed by red blood cells and the brain. If this does not happen, the body can get affected adversely. Bad carbs come from foods like soft drinks, alcohol, cakes, chips, cookies, white bread and white rice. Try to avoid them as much as possible, and consume the good carbs to have a healthy body.

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