For people who want to know more about carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy, included in our princlple diet such as rice, noodles, and bread.
Not eating carbohydrates for dinner, or a “low carb dinner” is a recently popular diet.
In this article, we will focus on carbohydrates and their roles and functions, as well as the daily necessary quantity.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, also called sugars, is a nutrient that is the main energy source for muscle contraction.
It is included in rice, bread, noodles, potatoes, starch (the main ingredient of beans), sugar, glucose, and fructose.
Seen from the molecular structure, carbohydrates can be separated into there types; monomeric sugars (glucose, fructose), disaccharide (sugar, lactose), and polysaccharide (starch).
Starch, one of our main diets, belongs to polysaccharides, where the main unit of carbohydrates glucose is connected together like a chain, creating a high-molecular compound.
When glucose is absorbed into our blood, it becomes blood sugar.
Blood sugar is extremely important for our bodies.
First of all, nerve cells including our brain can only use blood sugar for their source of energy. Skipping meals, or not taking enough carbohydrates during meals will lower the blood sugar level.
When the blood sugar level lowers below normal, it creates frustration and a lack of energy.
When things become worse, you sometimes can’t think of anything.
Athletes need to concentrate in order to practice and train at a high level. In order to do that, it is necessary for nerve cells to work properly. A proper meal schedule with plenty of carbohydrates will keep your blood sugar level normal, enabling nerve cells to properly operate.
Food products with an abundant supply of carbohydrates
- White rice 41.2g per 130g
- Bread 57.6g per 120g
- Cooked spaghetti 28g per 100g
- Potatoes 16.8 per 100g
- Kidney beans 23.2g per 100g
・The functions of carbohydrates
When you eat foods such as rice or bread, the carbohydrates included in them are digested and broken down into glucose, absorbed into the body, and become blood sugar.
Blood sugar is used as an energy source, and is also absorbed into the liver and muscles, created and stored as hepatic glycogen and muscle glycogen.
Hepatic glycogen that is stored in the liver is mainly used as an energy source for nervous activity.
On the other hand, muscle glycogen is used as and energy source for moving the body.
When exercise is done for a long time, the breaking down of hepatic glycogen occurs to preserve blood sugar level. Hepatic glycogen and muscle glycogen can sometimes be completely used up depending on the amount of exercise.
When this happens, it is important to resupply your body with carbohydrates while exercising and after exercising, in order to keep the storage of carbohydrates inside you.
・Usage of carbohydrates by your body when ingested by eating a meal
Glucose→Blood→Liver (Hepatic glycogen, used to preserve blood sugar level)
Muscle (Muscle glycogen, to be used as energy for exercise)
・How much carbohydrates you should intake in one day
The ideal amount of carbohydrates to intake in a day is 8〜10g per kilogram, and 65〜70% of the entire energy consumed.
For a person who is 60 kg, the ideal amount of carbohydrates is 480〜600g a day, separated into three meals (and maybe snacks).
This amount is usually cleared if you take three meals which include carbohydrates, protein(meat, fish), vegetables, and soup.
Many of us tend to take too much carbohydrates and fat. Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables to maintain a well balanced diet for your body.
I always make it a rule to eat a rice ball right after I train at the gym to supply my carbohydrates.
Eating the main energy source that was lost during exercise right after you finish exercising speeds up the absorption, gives you energy, and also enables you to lower the amount of food you eat after you come back home.
Although carbohydrates are an important energy source, eating too much of it will create unabsorbed carbohydrates, which will stay inside the body and eventually become fat.
Although the amount taken is important, the time and timing are also very important.
Since it is and important energy source for your body and brain, intaking carbohydrates during breakfast and lunch may be the best way to supply yourself with energy and not get fat at the same time.
We hope you enjoyed “What are carbohydrates?”.
Thank you for reading.