Know the Benefits of Carbohydrates, Types and Risks
Glucose or sugar that is processed from carbohydrates serves as a fuel that will be used by the body. The main benefits of carbohydrates are as a source of energy for the body to carry out various functions, as well as to perform various activities every day.
Carbohydrates can be divided into two types, simple and complex. Both types of carbohydrates have differences in their chemical structure. In general, simple carbohydrates only contain basic sugars which are easily digested and absorbed by the body. Meanwhile, complex carbohydrates have a longer sugar chain. So that it takes a long time to digest and absorb this type of carbohydrate. Sources of natural carbohydrates are easy to find, namely in the form of grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and milk.
Types of Carbohydrates
There are three macronutrients, which are nutrients that are shared in part of the food we consume. One of the three macronutrients is carbohydrate. Two other macronutrients are fat and protein.
Carbohydrates consist of three types, namely:
Starch is a carbohydrate found in foods derived from plants. For example, grains, vegetables, and nuts. Starchy foods, such as pasta and bread, also include starch.
Fiber is also found in foods derived from plants. Wheat bread, beans, and some vegetables eaten with the skin are good sources of fiber.
Not all carbohydrates are sugar, but all sugars are carbohydrates. Sugar can be obtained naturally from a variety of foods. The sugar found in fruit is called fructose, sugar in milk is called lactose, and sugar is called sucrose. In the process of making cakes, chocolate, and sweets, sucrose is usually added as a sweetener.
Benefits of Carbohydrates for the Body
Carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body. When you eat carbohydrates, the body will convert it to glucose which is the body’s main fuel. The body needs carbohydrates because these substances have some of the most important benefits, including:
When you breathe, move, walk, think or do other activities, the body needs energy. This energy is obtained from carbohydrates that are digested and processed into glucose. After that, insulin will help glucose absorb into the body’s cells. From this the body gets energy.
When you breathe, move, walk, think, or do other activities such as exercise, the body needs energy. This energy is obtained from carbohydrates that are digested and processed into glucose. After that, insulin will help glucose absorbed by the body’s cells. From this the body gets energy.
Meet your healthy calorie needs
In meeting calorie needs, you must pay attention to eating portions so as not to overeat to make the body excess calories. Calories derived from a number of carbohydrates are less than those with the same amount of weight. Your body’s calorie consumption will be better if the carbohydrate source you choose has high levels of fiber, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and beans. 45-65 percent of the recommended body calories come from carbohydrates.
Reducing the risk of disease
The benefits of consuming carbohydrates sourced from nuts and vegetables can reduce the risk of disease. Fiber in these carbohydrates can reduce the risk of constipation. Intestinal health can also be improved thanks to the benefits of carbohydrates. In fact, research has proven that certain types of fiber can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, although not yet fully proven, several studies have shown a reduced risk of obesity and diabetes by consuming high-fiber grains and carbohydrates.
Do not lack or excess carbohydrates
Carbohydrate requirements per day vary from person to person. This depends on age, gender, physical activity undertaken, and also certain medical conditions. But in general, healthy adults need a carbohydrate intake of around 220 – 300 grams per day. For those who want to maintain weight, the recommended carbohydrate intake is around 50-150 grams per day.
Women less than 50 years old need 25 grams of fiber per day, while women over 50 years need 21 grams of fiber per day. Meanwhile, men aged less than 50 years need 38 grams of fiber per day and men over 50 years need 30 grams per day.
The sugar produced from carbohydrates will be stored as fat in the body if not used immediately. Therefore, consuming excessive carbohydrates means you are accumulating more fat in the body. This can increase the risk of various diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Conversely, lack of carbohydrates is also not good for the body. When lacking in carbohydrates, the body will weaken and take protein and fat for energy. The process of breaking fat into energy can cause a buildup of ketone elements in the blood. If left continuously, it can cause ketosis. Ketosis can cause dizziness, weakness, nausea and dehydration. Lack of carbohydrates risks making you lack other nutrients that are important for bodily functions.
It is still wise to choose the type and regulate the portion of carbohydrates, in order to get the benefits of carbohydrates that are suitable for the body’s needs.