To Carb or not to Carb…..

Carbohydrates are ideal nutrients to meet your body’s energy needs, to feed your brain and nervous system, to keep your digestive system fit, and within calorie limits, to help keep your body lean. Digestible carbohydrates, together with fats and protein, add bulk to foods and provide energy and other benefits for the body. Indigestible carbohydrates, which include most of the fibers in foods, yield little or no energy but provide other important benefits.
    All carbohydrates are not equal in terms of nutrition.   I will be explaining the differences between foods containing compex carbohydrates and those made of simple carbohydrates.
    Carbohydrates contain the sun’s radiant energy, captured in a form that living things can use to drive the processes of life.  Green plants make carbohydrate through photosynthesis in the presence of chlorophyll and sunlight. In this process, water absorbed into its leaves donates carbon and oxygen. Water and carbon dioxide combine to yield the most common of the sugars, the single sugar glucose. Scientists know the reaction in the minutest detail but have yet to reproduce it–green plants are required to make it happen.
   Light energy from the sun drives the photosynthesis reaction. The light energy becomes the chemical energy of the bonds that hold six atoms of carbon together in the sugar glucose. Glucose provides energy for the work of all the cells of the stem, roots, flowers, and fruits of the plant. For example, in the roots, far from the energy-giving rays of the sun, each cell draws upon some of the glucose made in the leaves, breaks it dow to carbon dioxide and water, and uses the energy thus released to fuel its own growth and water-gathering activities.
   Plants do not use all of the energy stored in in their sugars, so it remains available for use by the animal or human being that consumes the plant. Thus, carbohydrates form the first link in the food chain that supports all life on earth. Carbohydrate-rich foods come almost exclusively from plants; milk is the only animal-derived food that contains significant amounts of carbohydrate. The next few sections describe the forms assumed by carbohydrates: sugars, starch, glycogen, and fiber.
   Through photosynthesis, plants combine carbon dioxide, water, and the sun’s energy to form glucose.  Carbohydrates are made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen held together by energy-containing bonds: carbo means “carbon”; hydrate means “water.”
   Six sugar molecules are important in nutrition. Three of these are single sugars, or monosaccharides. The other three are double sugars, or disaccharides. All of their chemical names end in ose, which means “sugar.”  Although they all sound alike at first, they exhibit distance characteristics once you get to know them as individuals.


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