What contains carbohydrates | What Are Carbohydrates
What Are Carbohydrates? and What contains carbohydrates? There has been a lot of fuss about carbohydrates in recent years. For example, many diets claim that it makes you fat, and therefore you should avoid carbohydrates at all costs. Although that is a bit exaggerated, it is indeed true that many Dutch people eat a bit too many carbohydrates (and therefore too few proteins and fats ).
To know whether this is also the case for you, it is of course useful to know what exactly we count as carbohydrates. In short: what contains carbohydrates? How healthy are they really, and how much should you consume? We’ll discuss it all in this article.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are, in short, sugars and substances that are made up of sugars. The latter is especially important. It means that not every carbohydrate is a pure glucose molecule. Often it is precisely chains of glucose, and your body reacts very differently to them.
The sugars that you get from carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. Certainly, your brain cannot live without it. They also have other functions: for example, products with carbohydrates also supply fiber, which is necessary to keep your intestines healthy. Carbohydrates are also often (but not always!) Associated with essential vitamins and minerals.
As we mentioned above, your body does not react the same to all carbohydrates. This is largely due to the distinction between fast and slow carbohydrates. Fast carbohydrates consist of just one glucose or fructose molecule. That means they can be immediately absorbed into your blood.
As a result, your blood sugar level rises sharply, only to drop sharply afterward. The result is that your body immediately needs new energy – the cause of the well-known ‘after dinner dip’. This strong blood sugar rocking is very unhealthy. It is, therefore, better not to eat too many fast carbohydrates.
Slow carbohydrates are the opposite of fast carbohydrates. These consist of long chains of glucose molecules. Before these sugars can be absorbed into your blood, they must first be broken into separate ‘pieces’. That takes a while, so your blood sugar level does not rise as quickly here either.
Your body does not have to work like crazy to get it down again so that the valley that follows does not ‘overshoot’. In short, less energy dip! Slow carbohydrates help you to stay energetic all day long, without having to feel lethargic in between. It is, therefore, preferable to eat as much as possible from this category.
Fiber and carbohydrates
Finally, there is a third type of carbohydrates: dietary fiber. In contrast to the types discussed above, your body can (almost) not digest these fibers. They also provide almost no calories (and therefore no energy). Still, it is important to get enough fiber on a daily basis.
For example, they ensure that your food is filling, and thus prevent you from being constantly hungry. They are also essential to keep your intestinal flora healthy: fiber even seems to reduce the risk of colon cancer. You will find them mainly in products that already contain a lot of slow carbohydrates. They also slow down the absorption of the sugars a little further.
What contains carbohydrates?
A lot of different types, but the main question remains: what contains carbohydrates? There are a lot of different product categories that contain carbohydrates; we put them together below. For the sake of convenience, we make a distinction between fast and slow carbohydrates.
Products with fast carbohydrates
Basically, anything that has added sugar falls into these categories. Added sugars are always isolated, and therefore almost always pure glucose or fructose. A few examples of products with fast carbohydrates:
- Sweet toppings
- Pastry and pie
- Candy and chocolate
- Chocolate or fruit-flavored desserts
- Soft drinks and juices
- Syrups, syrup, and honey
- White bread, white pasta, etc.
- Breakfast cereals
- Ready-to-eat sauces, soups, etc.
In general, products with fast carbohydrates can often be recognized by their sweet taste. However, sugars may also be added to savory ready-to-eat meals.
Products with slow carbohydrates
Slow carbohydrates are often less sweet; fruit is the one major exception. You can generally find these types of carbohydrates in cereals and vegetables. A handy list:
- Whole grain bread
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Pseudocereals ( quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth)
- Rice (both white and brown are fine)
- Root vegetables and root vegetables
- Legumes (lentils, beans, and peas)
- Fruit and dried fruit
How Many Carbs Should You Eat?
So much for the question: what contains carbohydrates? The logical next question, of course, is how many of those carbohydrates you then need. For products with fast carbohydrates, the following apply as little as possible. Occasionally something tasty should be possible, but do not make these products a standard part of your menu.
For the slow carbohydrates, it depends a bit on the other macronutrients you eat. In the article about that you can read how you can conveniently calculate your precise need! Depending on your goals, your carbohydrates will get you in about 30 to 60 percent of your calories.
Then one last question: shouldn’t you avoid products that contain carbohydrates? Many low- carb diets do recommend this. However, it is very unhealthy to delete an entire category of food from your menu. You also miss out on much-needed nutrients, such as fiber and certain vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, a low-carbohydrate diet is not at all as effective as is often claimed: we have already written a blog in which we explain why. In short: do not eat too many carbohydrates, but keep using them. Your body really needs them!