Simple and complex carbs in energy production

Be fuelled for longer, rather than be flooded by a fast glut of energy

Carbohydrates, or carbs, come in two forms – simple and complex. The ones we need more of for the sake of our health are complex carbs. These starchy carbohydrates include grains like bread, pasta and rice, but some are better than others, so carbs that have been processed less, like brown rice as opposed to white rice, are better for your body.

Complex carbs contain more nutrients, and also take longer for your digestive system to break down so your body is able to be fuelled for longer, rather than be flooded by a fast glut of energy from simple sugar carbohydrates, which if not used, are turned into fat for later use (we hope!).

Simple carbohydrates, or simple sugars, are found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables, but are also added to our food as sugar and honey. While we need carbohydrates for energy, it is better to get your simple sugars from naturally occurring sources like fruit, than by adding sugar to your porridge in the morning.

Your porridge or brown toast is made of complex, or starchy carbohydrates, and these are much better for your body, giving you more energy over a longer period of time, so you can keep running for longer!

Carbohydrates we eat are turned into glucose by our digestive systems. Glucose is a type of sugar that is carried around the bloodstream and delivered to our cells for energy.

When glucose hits the areas it is needed in, it is broken down into water and carbon dioxide. Any of that which is not used is converted into glycogen for storage, which is another type of carbohydrate that is stashed in the muscles and liver.

However, our bodies cannot contain more than about 350 grams of glycogen at any one time. Any glucose over 350 grams is turned into fat. Yikes!

 

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