As we previously mentioned, we will be writing exclusively on various food nutrients and super foods for this Nutrition Week. We’ve been a ardent followers of the cause and support this year’s theme on : Go Further With Food. Today’s macro nutrient is carbohydrates.
Despite having many benefits, one should ensure carbohydrates are consumed in moderation. A carbohydrate rich diet not only causes weight gain but even high blood sugar leading to health complications. Therefore, it becomes more important to eat an appropriate amount of healthy carbohydrates in order to meet one’s nutritional needs.
What are Carbohydrates?
One of three macronutrients along with fats and proteins that are required by the body daily is carbohydrate. The three main types of carbohydrates are fiber, starches and sugars. Starches are complex carbohydrates found in grains, legumes, potatoes and corn. Sugars are simple carbohydrates naturally found in vegetables, fruits and milk. Added sugars are those found in processed foods, syrups and sweets.
Why one needs carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates act as fuel for the body and are main source of energy for your heart, brain, muscles and the entire body. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate aids in digestion and helps to feel full and keep blood cholesterol in check. Carbohydrates that are not used by the body gets stored in muscles and liver. Carbohydrate deficiency can cause headache, fatigue, nausea and weakness.
What are healthy sources of carbohydrates?
- Whole grains – barley, brown rice, oatmeal and breakfast cereals.
- Fruits – berries, melons, apples, pear, banana, etc.
- Legumes – lentils, black beans, chick pea, etc.
- Milk products – low fat milk and yogurt
What is daily carbohydrate requirement of the body?
50-60% of the calories in a day should come from carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, one should consume 250 to 300 gm of carbohydrates per day if you are following a 2000 calorie diet.
One should avoid added sugar, processed foods, refined grains and sodas as much as possible. To be in good shape, one should choose and consume only healthy source of carbohydrates.
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