Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in our body. They are found in foods such as table sugar, honey, fruits, cereals, tubers and legumes or legumes. We also know these types of nutrients as sugars or carbohydrates.
Some carbohydrates, such as cereal starches and tubers, break down into simple sugars, such as glucose, through the action of enzymes and then into energy. Others, however, such as those found in dietary or dietary fibers, cannot be digested so they are not a source of energy but they still benefit us since they increase the amount of water and the volume in the intestine with which increases the ease of movement in the digestive tract.
Glucose, which can also be found in fruits, is the carbohydrate that our digestive system assimilates more quickly. The consumption of fast-absorbing carbohydrates helps us control appetite and blood sugar levels. Those of slow absorption such as those found in bread and cereals in general may be suitable for a diabetic person or for an athlete during and after training.
The levels of sugar or glucose are controlled by two hormones called insulin and glucagon. When sugar levels rise, the pancreas normally releases insulin and when they decrease it releases glucagon in order to return them to normal.
Diseases associated with the consumption of carbohydrates
- Diabetes: Diabetics cannot usually produce enough insulin so they have to take hypoglycemic tablets or inject insulin to lower their blood sugar level, in addition to eating regular and controlled amounts of carbohydrates.
- Lactose intolerance: Some people cannot digest the carbohydrates that come from dairy products so they pass into the large intestine and serve as food for the bacteria, causing gas, colic and diarrhoea. In this case, we recommend replacing them with soy-based products complemented by other foods such as corn tortillas or broccoli, which will also provide the calcium we need for our teeth and bones.
- Overweight: The body can keep some carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscles. The others are converted to fat. Those who lead a sedentary life need fewer calories while athletes need more. This explains why two people who consume the same amount of carbohydrates, increase their weight differently.
- Caries: When eating, part of the sugars and starches stick to the teeth. This increases the production of acid that attacks the enamel of the teeth and favours the appearance of decay.