Nutrition Handbook: Part 8 - Carbohydrates are a Basic Source of Energy

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: August 18, 2022 00:50

Carbohydrate Food Sources 

Carbohydrates are the basic source of energy for all processes of the body and required for healthy performance and decreased stress-response; they come in many varied forms of chemically unlinked and linked sugars. The energy contained within a carbohydrate is 4.5 calories.

Carbohydrate Categories

  • Monosaccharide
  • Disaccharide
  • Oligosaccharide & Polysaccharide

Monosaccharide Carbohydrates

Monosaccharides are the unlinked sugar molecules glucose (or grape sugar), fructose (or fruit sugar), and galactose (or milk sugar).


Disaccharide Carbohydrates

Disaccharides are dual-linked monosaccharides when one monosaccharide is linked to another monosaccharide. Sucrose is a disaccharide of glucose linked to fructose, which is found in sugar cane and beets. Maltose is a disaccharide of glucose linked to another glucose, which is found in grains and some fruits. Lactose is a disaccharide of glucose linked to galactose, which is found in milk.


Oligosaccharide and Polysaccharide Carbohydrates

Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, are two interchangeable names used for several, more than 3, linked sugars that form a wide array of carbohydrates from many different types of foods.

Starch is numerous glucose molecules linked together. The hydrolyzed version of starch is dextrin, a water soluble fiber, which happens when the starch glucose molecules become unlinked by combining with water.

Glycogen is numerous glucose molecules linked together by and stored within humans, animals, fungi, and bacteria.

Fiber is a structural linkage of numerous glucose molecules found in cell walls of organisms from the many kingdoms of life. Cellulose is the structural linkage of glucose molecules found in the Plant Kingdom. Chitin is the structural linkage of glucose molecules found in Fungus Kingdom and Protista Kingdom.


Carbohydrates are Part of a Complete Meal or Snack

Every complete meal or snack should have a portion of a carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are best consumed before planned performance during the following 4-6 hours, such as work, sports, and physical activity. Therefore larger portions of carbohydrates may be consumed earlier in the day during a complete breakfast. Carbohydrates are eaten with every meal that is every 4-6 hours apart. A snack may be consumed before prolonged physical activity of more than 30 mins duration.


Recommended Consumption of Carbohydrates

Optimal carbohydrate (carb) consumption depends on height and activity level.

Height
Feet' Inches" or Centimeters (cm)
~ carbs per day

Up to 5' 0" or 150 cm
~100 grams

5' 1" - 5' 5" or 155 cm - 165cm
~135 grams

5' 6 - 5' 10" or 167.5 cm - 177 cm
~150 grams

5' 11" - 6' 3" or 180 cm - 190 cm
~175 grams

6' 4" + or 195 cm +
~200 grams

Activity: Add up to an additional ~25 grams of carbs per day for every 30 minutes of increased performance during physical activity. This will be about 1/2 the actual amount of physical energy expenditure during 30 minutes of physical exercise.


Underconsumption of Carbohydrates

Less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day is not recommended as this will overburden the bodily organs and reduce stress response and increase glandular stress hormone output.


Overconsumption of Carbohydrates

Continuous overconsumption of carbohydrates can cause someone to gain weight and eventually become overweight by reducing the density of nutrients within their diet. Reduce the carbohydrate portion of complete meals to reduce bodyweight to a healthy normal range and consider participating in physical activities.


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