If you were to use a microscope, you would see carbohydrates are simple molecules. They are classified according to their structure; you have simple and complex.
Simple carbs are smaller, more easily processed molecules known as monosaccharides and disaccharides, because they contain either one sugar molecule or two sugar molecules linked together.
Complex carbs are called polysaccharides since they have more than two sugar molecules linked together.
Monosaccharides are the simplest form of carbohydrate and cannot be broken down any further since they contain only one sugar molecule. Some examples of monosaccharides are glucose, fructose, galactose, mannose, and ribose.
Carbohydrate intake is so important especially for fat loss because ALL carbs that we consume are digested into the simplest form which is mono- before they are absorbed by the body regardless if the food is oatmeal or a simple sugar cube. Once the carbohydrates are broken down, they are stored in the liver to fill the energy stores. After that, they enter the bloodstream and go into other cells of the body. At this time is when insulin is released to handle this sugar load.
A larger insulin response can be very beneficial like after an exercise session (because your body needs carbs in your bloodstream right away) and not so beneficial like right before bed.
Insulin isn’t all that bad though because insulin is a satiety hormone, which means it will make you full BUT that depends on the type of carbohydrate you eat. If it’s a simple carb as I discussed earlier ( white bread, mixed berries) you will digest it fast or if it’s a complex carbohydrate like oatmeal it will take longer to digest so you will be full for a longer period.
Having a diet of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates (when the body breaks it down fast )has an effect on your blood triglyceride levels, bad cholesterol, and insulin resistance. But on the other hand having carbohydrates that are digested and absorbed slowly,(whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) can help to control insulin response, energy levels, and body composition. Such unrefined, unprocessed, complex carbohydrate sources may reduce triglycerides and improve one’s cholesterol profile (Jenkins et al. 1987). Other benefits of a lower glycemic diet( foods that won’t raise your blood sugar levels) include increased vitamin and mineral intake, increased fiber intake, enhanced satiety, a higher thermic effect of feeding, and blood sugar control (Ludwig & Eckel 2002; Ludwig 2000).
Higher thermic effect is exquisite especially for people that want to lose weight or look better because digestion and absorption is an active process- it requires energy. For this to happen your body will heat up and when this happens you burn more calories.
If you are not eating enough carbohydrates, especially if your workouts are super intense it can be dangerous. The liver will create molecules known as ketone bodies when energy demands are high. The liver produces ketone bodies by taking protein away from your muscles, and this will have an opposite effect on what you want because protein helps build muscles. Even though this serves as an excellent backup for your body when you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your system, it’s still not the preferred method. You want to make sure you have a lot of complex carbs in your system, so this doesn’t happen.
Here good examples of carbs that you should eat ANYTIME:
Spinach, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables(broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) Mixed beans (kidney, navy, white, etc.) Quinoa, whole oats.
Here are some examples of carbohydrates that you should have AFTER exercise:
Banana, mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) Oranges etc.
One of the purposes of post-workout nutrition is to replenish glycogen and by eating a simple sugar like a bannana or mixed berries it can get in the bloodstream right away and help store the muscle glycogen levels.
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