Carbohydrates are a group of biomolecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. They generally have a hydrogen-oxygen atom ratio of 2:1, which is the same as in water (H2O), giving them the empirical formula Cm(H2O)n. However, it's important to note that not all carbohydrates strictly adhere to this stoichiometric definition.
Some carbohydrates, such as uronic acids and deoxy-sugars like fucose, deviate from the precise 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen. Despite this deviation, they are still considered carbohydrates due to their similar chemical properties and biological functions.
On the other hand, there are other chemicals that have the same empirical formula (Cm(H2O)n) as carbohydrates but are not classified as carbohydrates. For example, formaldehyde (CH2O) and acetic acid (C2H4O2) have the same atomic composition, but they do not possess the characteristic chemical structure and properties associated with carbohydrates.
In summary, while the general definition of carbohydrates includes the empirical formula Cm(H2O)n, there are exceptions and variations that exist in nature, and not all chemicals conforming to this formula are classified as carbohydrates.
Loading the player...Healthy Carbohydrates for Glycemic Control <p> <a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/registered-dietician">Professional Dietitian</a>, talks about how to eat healthy carbohydrates for a good energy sources and improved glycemic control.</p>
Professional Dietitian, talks about how to eat healthy carbohydrates for a good energy sources and improved glycemic control.
Healthy Carbohydrates for Glycemic Control
Carbohydrates are starches, fibres and sugars that we can find in different foods. So, there are different food groups that contain carbohydrates, such as our grains and starches, fruits, some vegetables, and dairy and milk.
Carbohydrates are indeed an important food group and a primary source of energy for our bodies. They can be found in various foods, including grains, fruits, vegetables, and other food items like cookies and candies.
Carbohydrates provide our bodies with glucose, which is used as fuel for various bodily functions, including the brain. The brain relies on glucose as its primary source of energy, and a steady supply of carbohydrates is necessary to maintain optimal brain function.
Additionally, carbohydrates also contain essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber, in particular, offers several benefits for our body. It aids in digestion, promotes healthy bowel movements, and supports the overall health of our intestines. It can also help lower cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Moreover, fiber plays a significant role in managing diabetes. When we consume carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. However, dietary fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, resulting in a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes, as it helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes.
Overall, including carbohydrates in our diet, along with a variety of other nutrients, is important for maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It's worth noting that the type and quality of carbohydrates consumed also play a role. Choosing complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are rich in fiber and nutrients, is generally more beneficial compared to simple carbohydrates found in processed sweets and sugary beverages.
There are different types of carbohydrates, such as short-chain carbohydrates, so these are also called rapid-acting carbohydrates. Meaning that the body will digest them and absorb them quickly or faster, which can actually cause a spike in the blood sugar. Some examples would be juice, white bread and sugar.
Then we have longer-chain carbohydrates, so this takes the body longer to digest and absorb, causing less of an effect on the blood sugar. Examples would be legumes, oats, barley and berries, for example.
When you’re looking for foods, let’s say out in the grocery store, and you’re reading labels, a really important thing to look for is the amount fibre. So, when you choose products that have higher fibre, these are going to take longer to digest.
Carbohydrates can play a very important role in diabetes management. Aiming to choose high-fibre carbohydrates will help in slowing down the digestion, causing less spikes in blood glucose. Also, when choosing carbohydrates, we’re looking at the quality – so meaning high fibre – but also the quantity.
For example, on your plate, a quarter of your plate should be the quantity of carbohydrates, which could equate to about one cup, or a fist. So, for example at a meal, having a cup of cooked barley, or a cup of cooked lentils, for example, on your plate could be your portion of carbohydrates.
Here are some tips: aiming to put more vegetables and legumes on your plate. Looking at the quality of the carbohydrates, so high fibre, and also keeping an eye on the quantity. As you increase your fibre, don’t forget to increase your water as well.
And if you’d like more information, reach out to a Registered Dietitian or a Professional Dietitian, as well as your healthcare team.