Do carbohydrate foods affect obesity problems?
It is generally accepted to equate deviations from the ideal mass with excess carbohydrate intake. All low-calorie diets usually severely restrict their carbohydrate content, which contributes to the formation of ideas about the low importance of carbohydrates in the diet. However, this is not the case.
Carbohydrate foods and diet
Often, severe restriction of carbohydrates in the diet leads to significant metabolic disorders. Protein metabolism suffers especially in this case. Proteins with a deficiency of carbohydrates are used for other purposes: they become a source of energy. This leads to an increased formation of nitrogenous substances and, as a result, to an increased load on the kidneys, impaired salt metabolism and other harmful consequences for health. With an adequate intake of carbohydrates from food, proteins are used mainly for plastic metabolism, and not for energy production. Thus, carbohydrates are essential for the rational use of proteins. They are also able to stimulate the oxidation of fatty acid intermediates.
This, however, does not exhaust the role of carbohydrates. They are an integral part of amino acid molecules, participate in the construction of enzymes, the formation of nucleic acids, are precursors of the formation of fats, immunoglobulins, which play an important role in the immune system, and glycoproteins – complexes of carbohydrates and proteins, which are the most important components of cell membranes. Hyaluronic acids and other mucopolysaccharides form a protective layer between all the cells that make up the body.
What foods are carbohydrates? Why does a person need carbohydrates and are they really to blame for deviating from the ideal mass, as is commonly believed? Do I need to know which foods are carbohydrate foods? Let’s try to figure it out.
Carbohydrates and excess body weight
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the human body.
Cells are able to receive energy from carbohydrates both during their oxidation (“combustion”) and under anaerobic conditions (without oxygen). Muscle pain after hard work is the result of the action on the cells of lactic acid, which is formed during the anaerobic breakdown of carbohydrates, when there is not enough oxygen from the blood to ensure the work of muscle cells.
The reserves of carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the human body are approximately 500 g. Its bulk (two thirds) is in the muscles, one third in the liver. Between meals, glycogen breaks down into glucose molecules, which mitigates fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Glycogen stores without carbohydrate intake are depleted in about 12-18 hours. In this case, the mechanism of the formation of carbohydrates from intermediate products of protein metabolism is activated. This is due to the fact that carbohydrates are vital for the formation of energy in tissues, especially the brain. Brain cells receive energy primarily through the oxidation of glucose.
Chronic carbohydrate deficiency leads to depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and the deposition of fat in its cells. This can cause the so-called fatty degeneration of the liver and impairment of its functions.
With a deficiency of carbohydrates in food, tissues and organs use not only proteins for energy synthesis, but also fats. With increased breakdown of fats, metabolic disorders may occur, associated with the accelerated formation of ketones (this class of substances includes the well-known acetone) and their accumulation in the body. Excessive formation of ketones with increased oxidation of fats and partially proteins, can lead to “acidification” of the internal environment of the body and poisoning of brain tissue up to the development of acidotic coma with loss of consciousness. Therefore, being overweight is far from the worst consequence.
An excess of carbohydrates in food causes an increase in the level of insulin in the blood and promotes the formation of fat, and a sharp decrease in the caloric content of food due to a decrease in carbohydrates in the diet can lead to a violation of protein metabolism. Therefore, it is worth controlling the amount of protein and carbohydrate foods.
The most important reason for the increase in fat formation is a sharp increase in blood glucose after a large intake of carbohydrate-rich foods. If, after a light breakfast, a person goes hungry during the day, and in the evening eats an afternoon snack, lunch and dinner at one time, the body is forced to fight the “poisoning” of carbohydrates – a sharp increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood. In order for glucose from the blood to enter the tissue cells, insulin is needed, and an increase in its level in the blood stimulates the synthesis of fats. True, the mechanism for the emergency conversion of carbohydrates into fat begins to work only with a simultaneous and sufficiently large (more than 500 g) intake of rapidly assimilating carbohydrates into the body. This is not as difficult to achieve as it seems: it is enough to eat a small loaf of jam, washed down with sweet tea.
In addition to insulin, hormones are also regulators of carbohydrate metabolism. Hormones of the adrenal cortex, the so-called glucocorticoids, increase the synthesis of glucose from amino acids in the liver. This process is also stimulated by the hormone glucogone, which, like insulin, is produced by the pancreas. Glucocorticoids and glucogone are opposite in action to insulin.
Normally, carbohydrates should provide 50-60% of the calorie content of food. It is impossible to exclude them from the diet, but they are still “to blame” for the accumulation of excess mass. Obviously, one should look for some ways that will allow, without excluding carbohydrates from food, to limit their conversion into fat. Is there such a way? Yes there is. To understand this, you need to understand what carbohydrate foods are in food.