What is Carbohydrates and Why is it essential?

What is Carbohydrates and Why is it essential?


  • Carbohydrates, or Carbs are sugar molecules. Along with proteins and fats. The primary functions of carbohydrates in the body are to provide energy, store energy, build macromolecules, and spare protein and fat for other uses.
  • Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity.
  • Carbohydrates act as an energy source, help control blood glucose and insulin metabolism, participate in cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism, and help with fermentation.
  • Each gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories.
  • Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients, which are nutrients that the body needs in larger amounts.

Functions of carbohydrates:

  • Providing energy and regulation of blood glucose.
  • Sparing the use of proteins for energy.
  • Breakdown of fatty acids and preventing ketosis.
  • Biological recognition processes.
  • Flavor and Sweeteners.
  • Dietary fiber.


Two main forms of Carbs:

  1. Simple carbohydrates
  2. Complex carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and send immediate bursts of glucose (energy) into the bloodstream. Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in foods such as fruits, milk and milk products.

Complex carbohydrates:

Complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and supply a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

Advantages of carbohydrates:

  • Carbs fuel our brain
  • Carbs will make happier
  • Lower the risk of cardiac diseases
  • Eating good carbohydrates can lead to better sleep
  • Carbs cuts cancer risk
  • Carbs will keep us energetic
  • Carbs can increase our lifespan

Disadvantages of carbohydrates:

  • Excessive intake of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain
  • The breakdown of sugar is tedious task for the body and hence can contribute to weight gain.
  • Carbs can increase blood sugar levels after meals. If excessive carbohydrates are consumed the blood sugar level cannot be regulated by the body.
  • The sugar is a source of carbohydrate which can lead to addiction.

Sources of good and bad:

Good carbs:

  • Unprocessed or minimally processed whole grain – Provides fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
  • Vegetables – Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fibre, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C.
  • Fruits – It’s an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, high in fibre.
  • Legumes – Beans and legumes provide fibre, protein, carbohydrate, and iron. Legumes are naturally low in fat.

Bad carbs:

  • Refined grains – White flour, White rice and White pastas can cause weight gain, digestive issues, Raise Blood sugar.
  • Sugary drinks – Sugary drinks include beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened teas. Consuming these beverages in excess can pose Dental issues, Heart disease, Kidney stones and other health risks.
  • Candy and sweets – Candys and sweets are filled with simple sugars and empty calories.
  • Processed Snacks – Packaged snacks are loaded with refined carbs, unhealthy fats, and additives.


Relation between carb and fat:

Carbohydrates are used for energy(glucose). Fats are used for energy after they are broken into fatty acids.

Energy resource: Both carbs and fat are primary source of energy for the body. Carbs are a quick and readily available source, while fats provide long lasting energy.

Caloric Density: Fats are more calories than carbohydrates. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, while one gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories.

Nutrient Storage: Excess calories from both carbohydrates and fats can be stored in the body as fat tissue. Consuming more calories than you burn can lead to weight gain.

Macronutrient Ratios: Different diets, such as low-carb, low-fat, or balanced diets, emphasize different macronutrient ratios.

Ketosis: Very low-carb diets, like the ketogenic diet, encourage the body to use fats for energy instead of carbs, leading to a state called Ketosis.

Amount of consumption of carb per day (by a person):

The recommended daily carbohydrate intake for an individual can vary based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and overall health goals. On average, A person should consume 45 to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates every day. The nutrition facts labels, the daily value for total carbohydrates is 275g per day.

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