What are Carbohydrates?

What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are composed of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen in varying proportions supply energy for work, play and other forms of vital activity and furnish fuel to maintain heat. Carbohydrates are either simple or complex and are the major source of energy in all human diets. They provide energy 4Kcal/g. The simple carbohydrates, glucose, and fructose are found in fruits, vegetables, and honey, sucrose in sugar and lactose in milk and glycogen in animal foods. The other complex carbohydrates, which are resistant to digestion in the human digestive tract are cellulose in vegetables, fruits, and cereals, which constitute the dietary fiber component.

Dietary fibers delay and retard the absorption of carbohydrates and fats and increase satiety value. Diets rich in fiber reduce glucose and lipid in blood and increase the bulk of the stools. Diets rich in complex carbohydrates are healthier than low fiber diet based on refined and processed foods.

What are simple Carbohydrates?
When the basic glucose units are joined in a straight chain they are called as simple carbohydrates. As soon as they get into the digestive system the links break up very easily, which release glucose instantly, raising the blood glucose levels. Examples of these kinds of food are Raw sugar, jaggery, sweets, candies, jam, jellies, cold drinks. Sweet fruits also fall into this group.

What is complex Carbohydrates?
In these, the glucose units are linked in a complex form i.e branched structure. When this is put into the digestive system the links break up slowly, thus gradually releasing the glucose levels. This allows insulin more to work. examples are Wheat rice, all cereals, brown bread, vegetables and fruits(non-sweet).