Carbohydrates - an important source of energy

Author: Karen Fullick

Carbohydrates - an important source of energy. Carbs are often referred to as simple or complex. Simple are a form of sugar and complex come from starchy foods. Complex carbs are broken down into two types refined and unrefined - both are a good source of energy. Confused - well let's break it down a bit!

Benefits of Carbs - the scientific bit:

  • Carbs are converted to glucose for immediate energy and glycogen for reserve energy
  • They are the main source of energy for all body functions and muscular exertion
  • The brain and nervous system rely purely upon glucose produced from carbs
  • Carbs have the capacity to hold 3 times their body weight of water
  • Complex unrefined carbs are a great source of vitamins and minerals
  • The unrefined part of carbohydrates provide us with roughage which aids digestion

Now that must energise you!

Things you need to know

To understand the type of energy we get from carbs, think of a marathon runner. Long, continued, steady running able to keep going for many hours - that is the type of energy you get from carbs.

  • Simple Carbs are a form of sugar such as: fructose, sucrose and lactose. They are found in table sugar, fruits, sweets, jams, energy drinks, soft drinks and milk. You will often see these listed on the nutritional label on the back of food products. They will give you a burst of energy.
  • Complex Carbs come from starchy foods, of which there are two types, refined and unrefined. They are found in wheat, bread, pasta, oats, corn, barley, potatoes, rice, beans, peas, lentils, chick peas and vegetables. Complex carbs are needed for sustained energy and to keep blood glucose levels steady.
  • Refined carbs have the outer husk or skin removed and are stripped of their nutrients. They provide energy, however this is released quickly through the system. Examples would be white rice, white bread, white pasta, potatoes with skin removed, Easy to consume in large quantities.
  • Unrefined carbs are complete with the outer husk and skin. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre and release energy slowly. Examples would be: brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, potatoes with skins, beans, lentils, pulses and vegetables. Hard to consume in large quantities. These are the best type of carbs to consume
  • Mixture of Simple and Complex - biscuits, cakes, pastries, sugary breakfast cereal. Use these as treat foods.

Choosing the right Carbs!

  • Complex unrefined carbs are the best choice as these contain nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals. They are a good source fibre and slow release energy.
  • Avoid simple carbs such as dried fruits, pure fruit juice (if drunk should always be diluted50/50 with water), sugar.
  • Cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates etc should be eaten as a treat only
  • Eat your five a day fruit and veg. Try to limit fruit to 2 portions as it contains natural sugar but eat as much vegetables as you like.
  • Did you know that a portion of vegetables is about 3 tablespoons of broad beans or 3 florets of broccoli and a portion of fruit is a medium sized apple or pear or a small banana

Daily Recommended amount of Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates should make up approx 60-65% of our daily intake of food made up of vegetables, pulses, rice and grains.
  • Make sure you include at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables into your diet daily, ideally more if possible
  • As a rule of thumb carbs should take up 2/3rds of your plate and much of this should be vegetables Over time plates have become very large so a good example would be a dessert plate.

GI or GL foods contain a good source of carbs. These foods are unrefined and release energy slowly.

Take care - Karen
Nutritional Therapist

Tip of the day
Introduce one portion of non-wheat unrefined carbs to your food today. Over time try to replace all refined foods with unrefined and over a short time you will notice a complete difference to your energy levels.

About the Author:

My name is Karen, I am happily married to Malcolm and we have a great son called Sam. I have been a successful business woman for many years and I now own and run my own company.
Like many of you I work and run the family home, arrange our social life and do everything to ensure we live life to the full. Well nearly everything, as up until recently there has always been something holding me back - yes you've guessed it - My Weight!
I have written a series of reports documenting my weight loss journey in which time I qualified as a Nutritional Therapist and made an amazing discovery to Fast, Effortless, Permanent, Weight Loss
To receive your free reports click on the following link:

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