Asking the question “How do carbohydrates work” is kind of like asking how a car works. Carbohydrates work in different ways at different times for different things. For example, simple carbohydrates(the bad ones) work differently than complex carbohydrates(the good ones). To get the answers we seek we are going to have to ask a series of questions.
How do carbohydrates work FOR us?
Carbs are stored in our muscles and used for energy. They provide great minerals, vitamins, and fiber that our bodies need to function properly without fatigue. The human body could not function correctly without complex carbohydrates like rice, pasta, beans, wheat and vegetables to act as our fuel. They are generally low in fat and high in fiber, so they release energy at a slow steady rate, and leave no fat behind.
How do carbohydrates work AGAINST us?
When you eat simple carbohydrates like honey, refined sugar, milk, candy, fruit juice, fruit and molasses you are gaining fuel for your body. But these carbs break down quickly, and this is why we get a quick burst from sugar. Since these usually have larger amounts of fat, and they spike blood glucose levels, they leave this fat behind when they are burned off, and contribute little or no fiber and vitamins to your body.
How do carbohydrates work for dieting?
When you eat foods high in carbs, you get a rise in blood sugar. This blood sugar causes the body to produce insulin which carries nutrients and vitamins to your cells. Your cells then use this sugar for energy. Simple carbs have high amounts of sugar, complex carbs have every little. So you can see that simply by replacing simple carbs with complex carbs in your diet, you will carry less sugar/fat to your cells. Less fat in, less to burn off.
How do carbohydrates work to build muscle?
Carbs provide the main fuel for muscular exertion. Proteins and fats can also be used by your muscles, but they must be converted to carbs first. That is why a proper diet should have more complex carbs than fats and proteins. Glycogen in your muscles and glucose in your bloodstream can both be used for energy production. Since the glycogen is already located in your muscles, it is quickly burned to use as fuel. When your body needs to use glucose instead, part of your energy is burned up actually absorbing the glucose into the muscles before it can be burned. And where does this magical glycogen come from? That’s right, carbohydrates.
There is no doubt that carbs are very important in you diet. But portion size, type of carbohydrate, and exercise are all very important if you are going to be a slimmer, healthier you.
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