Carbohydrates are an important element of our diet

Carbohydrates are an important element of our diet
Picture: Tatjana Baibakova | Dreamstime
Olga Sharapova
Professor, Doctor of Medicine
Victoria Mamaeva
Pharmaceutical Specialist

Carbohydrates, along with proteins and fats, are one of the main ingredients that enter the body with food every day.

If a person considers choosing foods in their diet to provide the necessary levels of valuable carbohydrates, then this is one of the most difficult questions that they ask. The choice of products is not so obvious, especially if you want to achieve a satisfactory dietary effect.

In addition, the proportions between individual nutrients differ depending on the diet adopted. If the plan is to cleanse the body of toxins, then the cleansing diet or paleo diet is the plan for the next few days. So a person will get carbohydrates from completely different foods than when the nutrition plan involves rapid weight gain due to training.

Complex carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are otherwise sugar or saccharides. These are chemical compounds containing hydrogen and oxygen. However, sugar is different. They are found, among other things, as simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates, or monosaccharides, are made up of a single sugar molecule, such as glucose, fructose, lactose, or xylose.

Complex carbohydrates are organic compounds, as the name suggests, consisting of at least two simple sugars. They can be divided into digestible and indigestible compounds, such as fiber.

Carbohydrates are an important component of the daily diet, if you choose simple carbohydrates, maintaining a slim figure is more difficult than taking complex carbohydrates. It all depends on the dietary goal that needs to be achieved.

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It is true that nutritionists agree that complex carbohydrates should be the main item on our menu and simple carbohydrates should be eliminated from the menu, but what to eat is still not so obvious. Simple carbohydrates are widely available in stores and everyone knows them, but if complex carbohydrates are a priority, it is much more difficult to determine what to eat.

Complex carbohydrates are mainly supplied to the human body from rye and whole grain bread, bran, oatmeal, thick cereals and wholemeal pasta. Whole grains and vegetables such as peas, beans, beans, soybeans and lentils are also rich in complex carbohydrates.

Iodine is one of the most important trace elements in the human body
Iodine is one of the most important trace elements in the human body

A very important parameter to consider when buying healthy foods is the so-called glycemic index. If it is low, it also has a positive effect on metabolism. These products are recommended for diabetics. An example is brown rice, which is a great source of complex carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index.

Simple carbohydrates

Despite many recommendations to limit the intake of simple sugars, they also have important functions and are necessary in the daily diet. There are many simple carbohydrate foods.

By far the healthiest sources of simple carbohydrates are vegetables and fruits such as apples, pears, and grapes. These are unprocessed carbohydrates, so they are good for the body. In addition, fruits and vegetables also contain many vitamins and antioxidants, the consumption of which is beneficial.

Simple carbohydrates are also found in various confectionery products: cakes, bars, sweets – as well as in white bread, pasta and rice. They are present in dairy products, often in the form of lactose.

Vegetables – everything is useful that got into your mouth
Vegetables – everything is useful that got into your mouth

If you choose simple carbohydrates, it is obvious what to eat. First of all, these are unprocessed foods, especially if you want to keep your body size and do not care about increasing it, or if the woman is pregnant. Then it is especially important to take foods that will affect the proper development of mother and child.

Snacks containing not only processed simple sugars, but also many preservatives, certainly do not have a positive effect on the functioning of the body.

Simple carbohydrates should also be limited because they digest quickly, leaving the body feeling full for only a short time. However, they are recommended for people who want to follow an easily digestible diet. They may also be present, although not yet recommended, for some nutrition programs such as the 8 Hour Diet.

Healthy carbs

Professor, Doctor of Medicine Olga Sharapova explains:

Carbohydrates are found in a huge number of foods. Vegetables, fruits, pasta, milk, beans and more. Carbohydrates are different and the difference in their benefits for humans is huge. Some are harmful to health, others, on the contrary, have a beneficial effect on health.

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I’ll start with the useful ones. Carbohydrates useful for the human body, of course, include bran, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits and berries. I also advise eating barley, buckwheat and all kinds of cabbage. These products, unlike fast carbohydrates, contain dietary and vegetable fibers. They improve the functioning of the intestines and normalize the metabolism in the body.

Healthy carbohydrates also contribute to weight loss. Therefore, we, doctors, advise eating them always. But to completely abandon carbohydrates, as many who want to lose weight do, is not worth it. Their deficiency in the body very quickly leads to diseases of the heart and blood vessels, impairs memory, causes headaches and reduces attention.

Cocoa – a healthy and tasty miracle of nature
Cocoa – a healthy and tasty miracle of nature

Therefore, those people who want to lose weight, of course, need to calculate the amount of daily diet. And, of course, develop a special nutrition program with a nutritionist. But at the same time, do not forget that the diet should be varied.

What carbohydrates to eat before training?

The chosen diet is especially important if, in addition to their daily duties, a person performs intense physical exercise. Of course, proteins and carbohydrates are an important part of a training diet, but what should you eat right before a workout to make it as effective as possible?

Superfood – food that should be in the diet
Superfood – food that should be in the diet

If a person trains in the morning, it is very important that the breakfast is nutritious and contains all the necessary ingredients that will allow him to enter the rhythm of the day. It should be a high-energy meal that includes both simple and complex carbohydrates. It can be, for example, porridge with bananas or other fruits, whole grain bread with cottage cheese and vegetables (pepper, garlic) or natural yogurt with muesli. Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

If a person is going to train during the day and does not know how to train in the gym, it is important to properly prepare the body for sports. It must be remembered that the food should be relatively light so as not to cause drowsiness, but at the same time provide it with the necessary ingredients. Pre-workout carbohydrates are an important source of energy and should not be ignored.

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If the training takes place during the day or in the evening, then the meal must have already been. For this reason, such meals should be as light as possible and contain a small dose of carbohydrates necessary for exercise, such as a piece of bread with honey or a smoothie, or a serving of fruit.

In preparation for training, it is necessary to observe the appropriate intervals between meals and activities so that the digestive system can safely digest it.

What foods should not be eaten?

If you are planning to take a serious look at your diet and start eating healthy, remember that the most important thing is to choose foods from proven sources, whether they contain simple, complex, processed or unprocessed carbohydrates.

The claim that you are what you eat is not an exaggeration at all. Along with food, a person provides the body with the necessary nutrients, but also more and more often with many artificial substances, preservatives, dyes, flavor enhancers that are harmful to health.

Nothing will happen if a person eats the so-called “bad” food, but regular intake of such food can seriously harm the body. On the one hand, this contributes to obesity, and on the other hand, to other threats to civilization, such as coronary heart disease and cancer.

Calories – fuel for the body
Calories – fuel for the body

Particular attention should be paid to what a person eats when their body is developing intensively, for example, during adolescence, when a woman is pregnant or leads an intense lifestyle. Both overeating and undereating are very harmful. For this reason, it is so important to eat a balanced diet rich in proteins, sugars and fats, but at the same time the most beneficial for the body.

What can not be eaten while eating carbohydrates? First of all, these are products with a high degree of processing, containing a lot of dyes and preservatives.

The body needs sugar, especially when energy is low, but eating candy bars and other sweets every day can be devastating, especially for children. So, as long as there are no contraindications for this, you need to choose foods rich in complex carbohydrates or simple raw sugars. It is important to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Then there will definitely be a noticeable difference in appearance and internal state. In addition, do not forget to properly moisturize your body and drink plenty of mineral water every day to be sure to look beautiful and feel great!

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