Carbohydrates take two forms, namely starches (such as potatoes, cereals, bread, and pasta); and sugars, such as table sugar (sucrose), milk sugar (lactose), and fruit sugar (fructose). When digested, the starches and sugars in carbohydrates are broken down into millions of glucose molecules that are released into the bloodstream.
When blood glucose levels rise, your body releases a hormone called insulin, which allows glucose to enter cells. Insulin also plays a key role in fat storage: When insulin levels rise, our cells are forced to burn glucose rather than fat. Did you just have that AHA moment? It’s not about starving your body of the nutrients it needs, it’s all about the ups and downs!
Carbohydrates are important because they are:
- A universal fuel for most organs and tissues in our bodies.
- The primary fuel source for our brain, red blood cells and a growing fetus.
- The main source of energy for our muscles during strenuous exercise.
Carbohydrates are also used for:
- Genetic material. Sugars form the structural framework of RNA and DNA (ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid).
- Giving certain proteins their functionality. For example, glycoproteins are proteins with carbohydrate attached, which then allow cells to communicate with each other.
See CARBS ARE GOOD!