Carbohydrates are one of the main components of the diet of a majority of people around the world. These are biomolecules composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Foods containing carbs are often debated and have a controversial status.
Many people believe that carbohydrates are not good for health. They are bad and they make you gain weight.
Other prefer to take a high carbohydrate diet for its benefits. No matter which side of the debate one is on, it is necessary to know the nature, benefits, and functions of carbohydrates and their effects on the human body.
What Are The Benefits Of Carbs?
Supplying energy to the body
The primary One of the primary functions of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy. Carbohydrates are found in the foods that you eat.
Once they are digested, they break down into simpler molecules called glucose. In this form, carbohydrates make their way into the bloodstream.
This glucose can be easily taken up by the body cells. They use it to make a molecule that is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), it is the energy currency of the body which is attained through a detailed process known as cellular respiration. These ATP molecules are used to perform a number of functions inside the body.
Body cells are capable to produce ATP from multiple sources. Such as dietary carbohydrates and fats. If you are using a diet that has these two, cells will use these carbs to produce ATP as their primary option.
A sufficient amount of glucose in the body leads to the body storing the extra energy in the body for any other bodily purposes that require more energy. The energy stored inside the body is not in the form of glucose.
It is stored in another form called glycogen. This glycogen is stored in muscles and liver. The human liver can contain up to 100 grams of glycogen in it.
These stored molecules can be used anytime when the body is less on energy and needs an immediate source to maintain the sugar level between meals.
On the other side, the cells of muscles only use the glycogen in the muscles. It could be anything like a high-intensity exercise. That is why exercise makes you lose weight.
When you have used all the glucose from the food and your glycogen storage is flooded, the body converts this extra carbohydrate to triglyceride molecules that are called fat cells.
Boosting the muscular health
The stored glycogen is one of the many ways the body makes sure to have sufficient glucose for performing all of its functions.
When glucose level in muscle is decreasing, the muscle breaks down into amino acids and this is converted into glucose or any other energy-producing compound.
It doesn’t work this way all the times; this is not an ideal situation that is followed in all humans. Muscle cells work hard for all body movements. The muscle mass may be lost due to the malnutrition or poor overall health. It promotes the risk of death too.
It is vital that you should consume at least some part of carbohydrates in your diet to prevent this risk of starvation-related muscle mass loss. The carbohydrates reduce the muscle breakdown and the energy in the form of glucose is supplied to the brain.
Improving the Digestive System
It may be a new thing that unlike sugars and starch, the dietary fiber is not broken into glucose. These types of carbs are processed undigested. This type of fiber is divided into two parts, soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is what is found in oats, legumes, fruits and some vegetables. This type of fiber, when passes inside the body it draws in water.
It makes a substance that is gel-like. This gel-like thing softens the stool and makes the bowel movement easier. All these things improve your digestive system.
The soluble fiber is particularly helpful for those suffering from stool inconsistency as it happens in constipation. It also makes the bowel movement less painful for some people.
Insoluble fiber also helps to alleviate constipation as it adds bulk to the stool and make the process take less time than normal. The whole process follows a quicker path. You can get this type of fiber from whole grains, seeds, and skin of fruits and vegetables.
If you are taking enough dietary fiber, it will ensure a good digestive system and protect against particular diseases of the digestive system.
Carbohydrates affect the cardiac functions
If you are eating an excessive amount of carbohydrates, know that it may affect your cardiovascular system in a negative way. It increases the risk of diabetes. But this is not true in the case of a da dietary fiber. Eating plenty of dietary fiber benefits the heart and blood levels bt stabilizing them.
The soluble fiber will make its way to the small intestine and it will show binding with bile acids. In this way, they prevent themselves to be reabsorbed.
Bile acids are made by the liver by using the cholesterol. If this is not happening, this cholesterol roams around in the bloodstream otherwise.
All other types of carbohydrates increase the blood sugar but not the dietary fiber. In fact, the soluble fiber delays the absorption of carbohydrates that take place inside the digestive tract. It helps to lower the blood sugar after eating regular meals.
Are Carbs An Important Part Of the Diet?
The benefits of carbs are well-known by most of the people which is why diets excluding them are still controversial despite their popularity.
Even if one chooses to cut down the number of carbs in the daily diet, they should still be consumed in a moderate quantity for a balanced diet.
However, the body is still able to carry out the processes in absence of carbohydrates. It can generate energy from the stored fat by making ATP from them. Nearly all body cells are capable of generating their own energy.
Despite the glycogen stored in the body, the major part that makes energy is triglycerides, not the glycogen.
The brain uses glucose for fueling itself. For the times when you are not eating for long or are following a very low carbohydrate diet, the brain fuels itself from glucose to ketone bodies. This process is called ketosis.
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These molecules, ketones are formed when the fatty acids break. When carbohydrates are not available, the fatty acids break down and supply the body the energy that it needs. The process of ketosis happens when the body uses ketones as their sole source of energy production.
Ketosis is not harmful. It is an alternate way of fueling the body when you are not eating carbohydrates for a long time.
Using glucose instead of ketones makes the brain reduce the number of muscles to break down and make glucose. When this doesn’t work, the ketosis is here to help to allow the humans to live without carbohydrates.
Things To Keep In Mind
Carbohydrates are necessary to make many functions work inside the body. They are the power supply for the body to complete even the basic tasks of the day. They fuel the body and brain with energy, making you capable to perform all these functions.
Fiber is also a type of carbohydrate that is good for digestion. It makes your metabolism better and prevents the risk of cardiovascular and heart problems.
Generally, carbohydrates are necessary for all these functions that cannot take place without them. However, if you are following a low carb diet, your body will modify itself and use the alternative methods for getting the energy.