Knowing about Carbohydrates: Are They Really Important?


You probably know carbs and how they supply energy to your system. But can they contribute to your overall health since they’re often associated with weight gain? You might be thinking if they really need to be avoided if you’re on a weight loss journey. This is because you may be hearing a lot of facts about it.

What Are Carbohydrates, by the Way?

Carbohydrates, or carbs, are included in the three macronutrients needed by the body. This is essential in producing energy to fuel up the body. Carbs are actually sugar molecules and can be classified into two: simple carbs and complex carbs.

Simple Carbs

Simple carbs contain monosaccharides and disaccharides. Examples of these are lactose in milk, fructose in fruits, and sucrose in table sugar.

Complex Carbs

On the other hand, complex carbs are characterized to be made of more complex molecular structures. Included in these types of carbs are fibers and starches. Fibers are often found in seeds, brown rice, and vegetables, while starches can be found in potatoes. 

Effects of Carbohydrates on the Body

So, what will happen if you eat carbs? Your body will break them into glucose that will be burned when you do physical activities such as exercising. These will then be stored as fat or muscles. Carbs are broken down more quickly than fat and protein. 

An enzyme known as “amylase” is released in your saliva to aid in the digestion process. Carbs are broken down further as they travel down the esophagus and stomach. When the bloodstream absorbs glucose, it circulates in the body and promotes energy supply to the tissues.

It is important to note that carbohydrates can give energy to the body in different ways. It can heighten your blood sugar or fuel the body fast when you’re doing a workout. Blood sugar is vital for the body; however, it can be dangerous when highly elevated as you can be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

How about eating complex carbs?

You might be wondering if complex carbs like fiber can have the same effect when taken into the body. What makes it different is that fiber can make you full. They are not really digested by the body since most of them just pass through the digestive system. It also enhances satiety because fiber helps in slowing down how the food moves through the body system.

There are two known kinds of fibers: soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers can dissolve in water and turn into gels. They are said to help in reducing the risk of heart disease and ease constipation. On the other hand, insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and make the food move faster in the body system. You’ll need these to keep a regular bowel movement.

If you want to improve satiety, opt to get starches from grains, bananas, potatoes, and legumes.

How much carbohydrate intake should you have each day?

There are various factors to consider when you want to get the right amount of carbohydrates in your body. It should be based on your activity level, age, and sex. However, as per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the daily calorie intake of women ages 31-50 must be 130 grams per day.

According to Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., R.D of Florida State University, we should opt for a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to get plenty of necessary nutrients. He also mentioned that it is recommended to diversify the foods we eat instead of sticking to the same diet repeatedly.


Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that our body needs. Without it, we will feel weak and may be susceptible to sickness. However, it is also important to take them in the right amounts. Carbs supply energy to the body, so don’t let those carbs sit too long; get moving and use those energy-boosting carbs as fuel for your regular workouts.

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