by Melissa Chichester
Today, the word “carbohydrates” is highly misunderstood. Many people believe carbs are “bad” or try to avoid them, especially when following popular diets. However, carbohydrates are actually an important nutrient your body needs to thrive.
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient. Your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). This is how they give your body energy to function. Fat and protein are other micronutrients your body needs to run optimally.
The key to carbohydrates is making sure you’re eating the right kind. And if you’re still concerned, there are some supplements that can help support carbohydrate metabolism so you can feel your best.*
A critical piece of knowledge about carbs is understanding the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. A food or drink’s chemical structure helps determine which category it fits into.
Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly and easily by the body and have a very basic chemical structure. As a result, they may cause a spike in blood sugar. They can also contribute to weight gain since many refined and processed foods are usually simple carbs.
Examples of simple carbs include table sugar, syrups, cake, pastries, donuts, white bread, and sugary drinks.
Complex carbohydrates contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They take longer to break down, help keep sugar levels stable, and may contribute to feeling full longer.
Examples of complex carbohydrates include beans, legumes, whole-grain products, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.
To truly understand when carbohydrates are nutritious or not, it’s essential to know about different types of carbohydrates. Starches, sugars, and fiber are three different types of carbohydrates. When you read a food label and it says “total carbohydrates,” it is counting the total of these three items.
Many starches are complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, corn, and berries. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that helps stimulate digestion.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate.
Although there is a difference between an apple and a piece of candy, your body can’t tell the difference between one type of sugar and another.
The key difference here is that the apple contains beneficial nutrients (including fiber).
Some supplements can help provide support for your body to process carbohydrates efficiently as part of a nutritious diet.*
Gymnema sylvestre is a perennial plant that has been used in Ayurvedic practices for more than 2,000 years in India. Gymnema sylvestre is traditionally used for sugar metabolism.*
Cinnamon has long been a staple in traditional health practices in addition to being a beloved spice. When added to your routine, cinnamon can help support sugar metabolism.* This means cinnamon can help your body break down sugars and starches from the foods you eat and turn them into cellular energy for your body.* Cinnamon also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within a normal range.*
Chromium is an essential trace mineral. It is needed in very small amounts daily, but plays an important role in nutrient metabolism.* Chromium also plays a role in the release of energy from cells.*
Did you know every part of your body needs niacin to function? Niacin is an essential water-soluble B vitamin. Niacin contributes to energy metabolism and helps metabolize carbohydrates and protein.* It is also known for its role in supporting nervous system health.*
Found in foods such as oatmeal and soy, biotin is another water-soluble B vitamin that assists with energy metabolism in cells.* Biotin is essential for the intermediate metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.* In addition, biotin helps to support healthy skin and hair.*
Have you been thinking of carbohydrates as either “good” or “bad?” Like any food, your best choice is to choose nutrient-dense foods and eat foods with added sugar in moderation. When you give food a “good” and “bad” label, it can cause mixed emotions about eating and even damage your relationship with food. Eating carbohydrates are an important part of your health. Making sure that you are eating the most nutritious option will help you get the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that you need.
|*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.