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Carbohydrates 101

When it comes to nutrition, everyone seems to have a different idea of what our bodies need. Many people try to avoid carbohydrates in their diets but this can have adverse affects on our health. Carbohydrates are just as important as vitamins, minerals, fats and even protein. This article is dedicated to the ins and outs of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are classified into two different categories that include simple and complex carbohydrates. Examples of complex carbohydrates include foods like bread, pasta and cereal. These foods are digested at a slower rate than simple carbohydrates. With slower digestion comes a more continual and stable flow of energy. Simple carbohydrates will provide the same amount of energy as complex carbohydrates only at a more rapid pace. We often call this a sugar rush or energy spike. Examples of simple carbohydrates include honey, soda, candy and forms of sugar. Because of the sudden rush of energy this type of carbohydrate provides, it wears off more quickly and is unable to sustain blood sugar levels for long periods of time. When this happens, we tend to experience more food cravings leading to more consumption of calories. Simple carbohydrates should be avoided in our diets as much as possible.

Carbohydrates, along with sugar, are broken down into forms of glucose. As all cells in the body depend on glucose, carbohydrates become extremely important for proper nutrition. If we do not consume enough carbohydrates, the body will begin to convert protein into glucose taking away the effects of protein to our bodies. The brain and nervous system run directly off of glucose so it is extremely important that we are consuming enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates not only provide us with enough energy to fuel our cells but also help increase calorie burning.

When it comes to calories, carbohydrates should make up at least 50-60%. The majority of calories we consume should consist of complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates. For best nutrition, less than 10% of your calories should come from types of sugar. These percentages will help decrease low blood sugar and increase the amount of energy your body has. The best complex carbohydrates consist of whole grain breads, cereals, raw fruit and vegetables.



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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.