Carbohydrates in Food – Understanding the Main Nutrients
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are three major nutrients in food. Sugar, starch and dietary fiber are the three common types of carbohydrates found in food. Though human body digests starch and sugar very easily, dietary fiber is not digestible due to lack of digestive enzymes in the body.
PHOTO BY FLICKR.COM/CIAT INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE
Carbohydrates in Food - Available in Different Form
Carbohydrate is essential for maintaining functional activities in your body. Most common form of carbohydrates in food
is sugar, which is very high in processed foods such as candy, cookies, cakes and sodas. Sugar carbohydrates are common in natural foods such as milk, fruits, sugar beet, etc. Starch carbs are high in foods such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, tapioca, couscous, noodles, pasta, bread and yams. Carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, legumes, etc. Carbohydrates are immediate sources of energy and are essential for preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue, reducing the risks of colon cancer, diverticulitis, constipation, etc. It is also beneficial for boosting the process of digestion, controlling sugar level, providing phytonutrients, etc. Carbohydrates in food are also beneficial for getting adequate vitamins and minerals in your body.
High Carb Foods - Rich Sources of Carbohydrates
Starchy vegetables such as cassava root, taro root, caladium root, winter squashes, pumpkin, banana, yam, etc are high carb foods
. Carbohydrate is high in mild starchy vegetables such as salsify, rutabaga, beets, cauliflower, carrots, etc. It can also be obtained from cereal grains such as oats, buckwheat, millet, rice, barley, rye, wheat, and legumes such as beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, etc. Carbohydrate content in jowar, ragi, wheat flour, Bengal gram, kidney beans, arrow root flour, apricot, dry dates, honey and jiggery is also very high. High carb foods also include apple, orange, grapes, sweet corn, bread, powerbar, raisins, blueberry muffin, ice cream, green pea soup, garbanzo beans, tomato soup, fruit yogurt, etc.
Low Carb Menu - Health Benefits
You can restrict the consumption of carbohydrates for controlling your weight. Low carb menu includes replacement of foods high in carbohydrates with protein rich foods. You can include peanuts, seeds, nuts, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fish, poultry, meat, etc in your diet. Carbohydrates are very less in vegetable salads. Carbohydrate content is very low in food items such as spinach, bottle gourd, cucumber, snake gourd, figs, sweet lime, strawberry, cow’s milk, butter milk, ladies finger, green tomato, beet root, etc. You can avoid diseases such as diabetes, epilepsy, ketosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc by following a low carb menu. Reducing weight, increasing mortality, avoiding the risk of heart damage, autism, cancer, etc are the other health benefits of low carb diet.