Benefits Of Carbohydrates

The Benefits Of Carbohydrates Are Quite Straightforward

You hear so much about counting carbs and low-carb diets that you might begin to wonder if there are any benefits of carbohydrates at all. Next, you discover that carbohydrates are basically sugars. Aren't sugars bad for us? The truth is, carbohydrates are essential to our well being. We couldn't do much, if anything, without them. Diabetics have to keep track of the number of carbohydrates they ingest, and people on weight loss programs will work to keep the intake of carbohydrates lower than usual. But you cannot do without them.


What A Carbohydrate Is - Look at the word carbohydrate. It means carbon plus water. In its very simplest form, a carbohydrate molecule would be made up of an atom of carbon, two of hydrogen, and one of oxygen. Most carbohydrates are more complex than that, but the molecule just mentioned is the building block. It is essentially a sugar, and more complex chains of molecules lead to more complex carbohydrates and more complex sugars, starches, and fibers, which are the forms carbohydrates can take.

Simple carbohydrates are simple chains of sugar molecules which quickly dissolve in water. These carbohydrates give us a quick energy boost, which is sometimes good for us, but not always. Complex carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules forming very long and complex chains. These larger molecules do not dissolve in water as quickly, but act more in a timed-release capacity. They give us energy we need, but over a longer time period, and are of greater benefit to us in terms of health.

Major Benefits - The major benefits of carbohydrates is that they produce energy for our bodies. No source of energy, and, as we have said, we can't do much. Our brains require carbohydrates to function properly, and the same can be said for our cardiovascular and nervous systems. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate, and as we know, fiber is an essential component in efficiently removing wastes from our body. As is the case with so many things in our lives, realizing the full benefits of carbohydrates is not taking in as many as possible or as few as possible, but in achieving a proper balance. Because carbohydrates essentially introduce sugars into the body, diabetics have to be particularly careful in counting carbohydrates on a regular basis to ensure that they get neither too few or too many at a given time.

Some Carbohydrates Are Better Than Others - The so-called "good” carbohydrates are the complex carbohydrates found mainly in potatoes, whole meal breads, pasta, grains, bran and many of our vegetables, especially root vegetables. The "bad" carbohydrates are those which give a quick boost of energy, the so-called "sugar highs". These are simple carbohydrates found in sweets, pastries, sugar, soda pop, and chocolate among other things.

Summary - If you are a diabetic, attempting to lose weight, or in a program involving intense physical training or activity, you'll no doubt be paying attention to your intake of carbohydrates, both simple and complex. If diabetes is the problem, you'll be trying to strike the right balance between too many and too few, both of which can affect your well-being. If weight loss is the issue, you may find yourself on a low carb (not a no-carb) diet. And as far as participating in intense physical activities is concerned, you’ll be eating and drinking things rich in carbohydrates. For most of us, just eating a normal healthy and balanced diet will give us all the carbohydrates we need, not too little or to many. Eat smart, and you won't have to count carbs, and can still enjoy the benefits. When you think about it, it's amazing all the forms molecules made up of carbon and water can take, and all the good these molecules do for us.