|Simple and Complex Carbohydrates|
by Marc David
The further on your read, you'll begin to understand that everyone needs energy and the best source of energy is from carbohydrates. Roughly 50%-80% of your nutritional intake should come from carbohydrates! (not including any special needs cases if a person was carbohydrate sensitive).
Similar to amino acids, when you link various simple sugars together you get carbohydrates with different properties and effects on the body's blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrates are classified
into three categories:
Monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, fructose) are the sugars found in milk and fruits.
Disaccharides (sucrose, lactose) might be found in table sugars and milk sugars. They are a combination of a two simple sugars.
Polysaccharides (complex carbs, starches, fibers) come from whole grains, vegetables, nuts, some fruits and legumes. These are your complex carbs.
When you link different kinds of sugars together, you will get different kinds of products. For example when you combine glucose and fructose you get sucrose (table sugar).
You'll read a lot about essential amino acids and essential fats but what you won't read about in any fitness manuals or hear from any fitness experts is the essential carbohydrate. That's because there is no such thing. There are just different carbohydrates with different properties that affect your energy levels.
Here's a fact for you: Our bodies can only absorb monosaccharides (simple sugars).
[STOP and realize that complex carbs are just a series of 3 or more simple sugars bound together. As mentioned, complex carbs go by the alias, polysaccharides.]
This means if you eat a complex carb, your body will break down that complex carb into simple sugars and ultimately into blood sugar which can be used for many different functions. Depending on the carbohydrate you just ate and other factors, these carbohydrates will have different effects on blood sugar levels. Specifically how fast they rise and fall.
This ability of a carbohydrate to to raise blood sugar fast or slow is called the glycemic index (GI). The GI was created to track various foods effects on blood sugar at different rates.
The GI's importance is related to the body's blood sugar effects on insulin levels. Insulin is the primary hormone responsible for fat storage (along with many other functions). The GI was originally invented with the diabetic in mind because insulin levels can mean the different between life and death in such instances.
If you are still reading, you should at this point understand that complex carbohydrates have a more leveling effect on insulin and longer term energy. Because complex carbs are not continually 'spiking' the insulin levels, you'll send less signals to store fat.
Eating the right carbs will give you longer term energy and help to fight body fat storage!
Your probably wondering if there's a simple example of this so you can skip today's brief science lesson.
The starch in whole grains is an excellent example of a more complex carb compared to the monosaccharides like refined white flours or table sugars. This is why you always read about "staying away from refined and processed foods" as much as possible.
Now keep in mind that complex carbs require a prolonged digestion time (enzymatic process) and thus provide a slow, even and ideal flow of energy. This avoids any fluctuations in glucose (blood sugar) levels which can affect energy. Complex carbohydrates contain more nutrients and fiber.
Here's a better overview of where you can find various carbohydrates in foods:
Complex carbohydrates, often referred to as "starchy" foods, include:
* starchy vegetables
* some protein drinks
Simple carbohydrates that contain vitamins and minerals occur naturally in:
* milk and milk products
Simple carbohydrates are also found in processed and refined sugars such as:
* table sugar
* syrups (not including natural syrups such as maple)
* regular carbonated beverages
* refined flours
* some processed foods
Bottom line: You want to get most of your carbohydrate energy from complex sources so that you have a long term energy flow. After a workout, it's ideal to take in simple sugars to quickly replace glycogen stores.
Copyright 2006 Marc David
About The Author:
Marc David is an innovative fitness enthusiast and the creator of the "The Beginner's Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding" method on www.Beginning-Bodybuilding.com. He can show you how to reduce your body fat thru diet, how to gain weight or create more muscle thru an abundance of workout tips by training LESS! Not more. He dispels many "bodybuilding myths", tells you what most people never realize about nutrition, and what the drug companies DON'T WANT YOU to know. Go to: http://www.Beginning-Bodybuilding.com to find out more about The Beginner's Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding.
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