Carbohydrates are a large source of the body’s energy. Carbohydrates are converted by the body into glucose which is a form of sugar that is used by the body. As you may have heard over the years, there are good carbs and bad carbs. If you maintain a diet that is too high in carbohydrates it can negatively affect the body’s balance in several ways. The most prolific way is that it can skew the blood sugar level which will affect energy levels and even mood changes that will leave you feeling fatigued and irritable.
There are two main types of carbohydrates; simple and complex carbohydrates. Both types of carbohydrates form glucose when digested by the body. That glucose is then transported throughout the body through the bloodstream and then is converted to energy by the cells. The pancreas is located in the abdomen and it secretes insulin which controls how much glucose is used by the body’s cells.
If there is any glucose left over it is converted into glycogen which is then stored in fat cells. Glycogen is also stored around the liver. When the body is in need of supplemental energy a secondary hormone called glucagon comes into play. The glucagon converts the glycogen back into glucose which is then released into the body for use via the bloodstream.
This process is known as glucose metabolism. The difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is that complex carbohydrates take longer to go through the metabolic process which produces a slower and more sustained release of this energy.
Complex carbohydrates are also known as starch foods. They can be found in many foods in their natural form and can also be refined in processed foods. Some of the natural foods that complex carbohydrates can be found in are bananas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, oats, sweet corn, whole grain cereals and yams. Complex carbohydrates which are found as refined starches are found in biscuits and pastries, pizza, sugary breakfast cereals white bread and white pastas and white rice.
It is important to maintain a balanced diet that includes both carbohydrates and proteins. If you have concerns about your dietary intake and how many carbs you really need to be taking in, consult your physician or dietitian.