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Carbohydrates are one of the main sources of energy for human beings. They comprise three types of carbohydrates and they include fibre, sugar and starch. They are usually low in calories and thus, help in maintaining a healthy diet.
What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are biomolecules composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The ratio between hydrogen and oxygen in carbohydrates is 2:1, which is similar to water. These macronutrients play a major role in providing energy to all living beings. In our body, energy is produced by converting digestible carbohydrates into sugar and is later used by the cells for their energy.
Read more: Carbohydrates.
Sources of Carbohydrates
Oatmeal, brown rice, multigrain cereals, wheat pasta, and wheat bread are some of the complex carb food products, which balance our diet and keep our cells, tissues and organ systems healthy and active by providing energy for their metabolisms.
Carbohydrates can be easily digested and broken down into glucose to produce energy. Carbohydrates have 3 to 4 calories per gram.
Similarly, there are many more interesting facts about carbohydrates, which are listed below.
Interesting Carbohydrates Facts
Carbohydrates are known as one of the basic components of food including sugars, starch, and fibre which are abundantly found in grains, fruits, and milk products.
Fibrous carbohydrates can be found in fresh vegetables like pumpkin, carrot, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, etc.
Consumption of carbohydrates in high quantities results in an abnormal increase in calories, which leads to obesity and in turn, low calories lead to malnutrition and other nutritional deficiency disorders.
Also Read: Food Deficiency.
Milk and other plant sources, such as apples, oranges, bananas, pineapple, sweet potatoes, and berries are rich sources of simple carbohydrates.
Similar to other macronutrients – fat, proteins, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates cannot be produced by the human body, therefore, an adequate amount of carbohydrates should be supplied through the diet.
Also Read: Micronutrients.
Many foods with carbohydrates also supply fibre and these fibres help in lowering blood cholesterol and are also involved in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Based on the molecular structure of carbohydrates, they are further classified into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to increase blood sugar levels quickly, while complex carbohydrates take more time to digest, therefore release glucose slowly.
According to health researchers and nutritionists, people with a healthy diet with balanced amounts of carbohydrates stay lean and healthy compared to others with modern lifestyles and eating habits.
There are both healthy and unhealthy sources of carbohydrates. Foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, etc are considered as healthy sources and unhealthy sources include soda, white bread, artificial sugar, pastries and other highly processed foods.
Carbohydrates are responsible for important aspects of living activity and are mainly involved in the oxidation of fats, breakdown of body protein and other human metabolic processes.
All living organisms, including plants and animals, store their energy in their cells. Animals store their energy in the form of glycogen and plants store their energy in starches. For example- potatoes.
Humans should focus on eating carbohydrates in their diet. Eating too many carbohydrates in the form of simple carbohydrates leads to gaining weight quickly because our body stores extra carbohydrates as fat.
Processed foods such as cookies, sugar candies, cakes, pastries, etc are usually high in simple carbohydrates, which often lead to health disorders, including obesity if eaten too often.
Humans should have a count on their eating. Should include lots of complex or good carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables and avoid refined carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates found in candies, sugar, white pasta, cookies, bread and even fruit juices.
Veggies rich in carbohydrates include- yams, beans, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, fresh beets, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, peas, butternut squash, white potatoes, etc. Fruits rich in carbohydrates include- apples, mangoes, pears, grapes, grapefruit, peaches, berries, oranges, bananas, pineapple, etc.
Also Read: Biomolecules
This article concludes an introduction to carbohydrates and its amazing facts. To know more about carbohydrates, its types, sources, functions and other related topics and important questions, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.