Carbohydrate plays a crucial role in our diet for our health and well-being. Just as a car cannot run without fuel, carbohydrates acts similarly for our body. Our body runs on carbohydrate. They are primary source of energy needed to perform physical activity, operation of the organs and brain function. When we take carbohydrate our body uses it for metabolism of our cells and waste elimination. We get carbohydrates from foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, milk etc. which provides our cells the glucose which is needed to run metabolic functions. Carbohydrates are often defamed for causing weight gain but they are one of the primary nutrient our body needs in proper amount to function well. According to dietary guidelines by Institute of Medicine between 45 to 55 percent of the total calories of every person’s diet should come from carbohydrates.
Here Are Some Essential Functions Of Carbohydrates For Our Body
1. Provides Energy
Supplying energy to the body is the main role that carbohydrate plays. Once eaten, carbohydrate from the foods is broken down into smaller sugars and get absorbs into the bloodstream. The blood glucose is then transported through the bloodstream to provide energy to the muscles and tissues. Excess carbs not needed right away are stored in the muscles and liver in the form glycogen. Some carbs are stored in the fat cells.
2. Provide Fuel For The Central Nervous System
Most cells of our body use simple carbohydrate to supply energy. But our nerve cells particularly are completely dependent upon glucose for their functioning. When you consume insufficient carbohydrate (low-carb Diet) brain can become foggy. Carbohydrate plays significant role in providing energy to brain and central nervous system.
3. Prevents Breakdown Of Protein For Energy
Protein is necessary for cellular processes, for repair of tissues and also for production of enzymes. When you do not consume enough carbohydrate body needs to produce energy, your body is forced to use protein for fueling the body. Consuming sufficient carbs helps our body to inhibit breakdown of protein for energy. When protein is used up for producing energy, you have less protein to do its necessary functions like maintaining and repairing muscle and other body tissues and muscle contractions. Carbohydrate helps the body to use protein for its primary purpose, not for producing energy.
4. Needed For Fat Oxidation
Our body needs carbs to metabolize fat. Breaking down of carbohydrates is known as oxaloacetic acid is required for metabolizing fat. Without this breakdown process, fats can get converted into ketones, which are an alternative energy source that can be used by the cells when you have insufficient glucose supply. Ketone is acidic in nature and high elevation of ketone can be toxic to the body. This is why, to inhibit ketosis an adult needs at least 50 grams of carbohydrate in his/her diet per day to metabolize fat correctly.
5. Helps To Maintain Digestive Health
Fibers contained in carbohydrate are necessary for digestive health. Some fibers are soluble and some are not. Both types of fibers are required to allow food move through intestinal tract and then through colon to eliminate as waste product. Thus carbohydrate helps in expulsion of waste and clears the gut, which prevents constipation and keeps the gut healthy.
6. Stimulates Growth Of Beneficial Bacteria
Carbohydrate plays a critical role in stimulating beneficial bactea. Carbohydrate provides fuel to these beneficial bacteria. These bacteria protect the colon from harmful cells. And help the body absorb calcium in a better way. The carbohydrate foods that stimulate this type of bacteria are called prebiotics.
Carbohydrates are mainly of two types, simple and complex. While function of both type of carbohydrates are same, their effect on body’s metabolism is different. Some are better for our health than others. So you have to choose carbohydrate wisely. Most complex carbs are high in fiber, which promotes satiety and promotes digestive health, they help to restrict overeating and weight gain. Besides, high fiber foods help to lower cholesterol and also reduce the risk of heart disease.