What are Carbohydrates?
The name carbohydrate comes from the chemical nature of it's molecules-carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Hence the abbreviation, CHO.
Woven into our history, readily available, relatively low in cost, and with modern processing and packaging methods that have extended their shelf life almost indefinitely, it is easy to see why carbohydrates are a popular main stay.
Classified by type, carbohydrates are our primary source of energy and make up the majority of most individual's diets.
Often demonized, you can see from the graphic below that carbohydrates fuel our Central Nervous System, and are the primary fuel supply for the brain. While that does not answer to the effects when consumed in excess, we can clearly see that carbohydrates play a vital role in our health.
The bigger question with carbs becomes what and when...what type of carbohydrate are you consuming and when?
All carbohydrates are not created equal. When a carbohydrate has been refined it has had B vitamins, bran, and fiber removed. B vitamins aid in carbohydrate metabolism. Refined carbohydrates are linked to high triglycerides and heart disease.
Monitoring your blood glucose levels may help to understand ideal times during the day to consume carbohydrates-for example first thing in the morning is not usually recommended as this is a period of the day when our blood glucose levels are the highest for most.
Carbs are not the devil. If they were they wouldn't play such a huge role in brain and CNS function. As part of a healthy diet choose carbohydrate options like steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, yams, sweet potatoes, and other complex carbohydrates while lightly supplementing with fruit.