When we talk about Carbs, as a culture, most people would agree the we could do with less of them in our diet. Unfortunately, there is much more to a Carb, carbohydrate, than the story that we keep being advertised.
A carbohydrate is a molecule made up of 6 Carbon atoms, 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms (C6H12O6). Depending on how these molecules orient themselves makes them different Carbohydrates. Glucose is the ONLY sugar our body can use. It does a great job of it and in fact tries to store it as much as possible, in case we were to ever run out.
Don’t get too caught up on the chemical structure, All you really need to do is count the Cs, Os and Hs and you will see how many there are of each. In the below diagram is another form of a Carbohydrate known as Fructose. You may have heard of “High Fructose Corn Syrup.”
Again count the Cs, Hs and Os. They have the same number! What does this mean?
Well this means our body can use it, BUT we have to convert it to Glucose first!
Also check out the Sucrose picture. With out having any real Chemistry background you can see that if you were to “combine” the Glucose with the Fructose you get Sucrose. This is a GOOD thing. It means that your body has to work harder to break the two Carbs apart , convert the fructose to glucose and then be able to use it. This conversion process is given the term Glycemic Index, which is an index of foods and how long it takes our bodies to convert complex carbohydrates into the usable form Glucose.
I hope by now you are understanding that there are many forms of Carbohydrates in our food. When people say “I am cutting our Carbs from my diet,” please understand that this not the right term we should be using. I am not sure what we should change it to, but maybe I am not going to be eating simple sugars or I will not eat table sugar. I am not sure, but if you do want to “cut Carbs” be mindful that your body still needs the Glucose from the Carbohydrates.
I would love to know if you are in the process of lowering the amount of Carbs you are taking in; how long you have been doing it and If you have seen any results from that action.