Friday, 8 November 2013

Carbohydrates -- second session on food

In the post about ‘Basics of food’ we discussed all 3 micro nutrients,  This post we will focus on only one of them ‘Carbohydrates’
A little recap 
  •  Carbohydrates are made up of Sugar, Fibre and Starch
  • Carbohydrates are broken down by our body to give us energy 
  •  We all  have both good and bad carbohydrates available to us, making the right choice is very important

Food as a fuel
For me personally if I look at food as fuel it is easier for me to make the right choices, So most days I will make sure what I eat is something that helps me improve my life either by giving me more energy during the day or by helping me for my workouts but it should not be something that takes away from my day. I am not saying I manage this all the time but I try to.
  • Fuel is something that keeps you moving ahead.
  • Carbohydrates as fuel should give you the energy to work out and lead a more active life
  • Try this if you don’t believe --> for lunch have a big meal of burger and French fries, tell me how you feel about half hour after your meal, do you feel you can think clearly? Or do you feel you a need to nap? Next day for lunch have a healthy meal with grilled vegetables and meat, now how do you feel? Do you even need a coffee?? When I was reading about all this I did try it out and trust me I was feeling sleepy during my meal :D

Understanding how the body works
(As usual this is very basic, no big terms. I have tried to make it as simple as I could, no information overload)

  • Carbohydrates at some point are converted to glucose by our body; this is usually travels in our blood and is used by our tissues and cells. A balance needs to be maintained, too much or too little of anything can be bad.
  • Body breaks carbohydrates to sugar (chew on your bread for sometime it becomes sweet) . If you eat the bad carbohydrates the body will break that into sugar very fast, so in a short time you will have more sugar in your blood. To balance this the body produces insulin. Insulin will rapidly work to clear you blood sugar levels and usually takes you back to the state where you started before eating. So you feel tired and eat again to cope (Did I make it simple?)

How does insulin balance your blood sugar?
The level of insulin produced depends on how much is needed to get your body back to a balanced state.So more bad carbohydrate will lead to more sugar in your blood and that will lead to more insulin produced.
To balance the blood sugar level insulin does two things :
1. Forces excess sugar to your muscles :
Muscles have insulin receptors these decide keep track of how much insulin is produced by your body to decide how much sugar should be taken in by your muscles  
2. Stops fat burning.
Till the insulin levels are high our body will try to balance things by using the glucose in our blood stream rather than using any fuel from stored fat

Bad carbohydrates ---> higher blood sugar levels ---> higher levels of insulin --> turn causes excess sugar in your muscles and no fat burn (all this balancing your body is trying to do takes away energy in the long run)
How do I select good carbohydrates?
(Simple answer: a good carbohydrate will take time to break down)
Higher fibre content is usually considered to be sign of a good carbohydrate
1.       Fibre is difficult to digest --> the body takes time to break it to sugar --> because the process is slow there is no sudden release of sugar in the blood flow --> no peaks and valley in blood sugar level
2.      Fibre is difficult to digest it also keeps you full for longer --> you eat less
I would  like to point out I'm no fitness expert these are things I learnt along the way of my weight loss journey by surfing the Internet and talking to trainer.
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 
Some of the site I found useful are : ( ,,


  1. Very informative Post Tanvee! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    1. I am glad you found it useful Sheetal :)

  2. Very good explanation. I do eat carbs but try to stick to ones without recipes involved. Plain oatmeal. Fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, I do eat small amounts of refined carbs, but usually regret it in a big way because I don't feel very good after eating them. I don't tolerate feeling bloated very well. :D

    1. Thanks Marion, I was hoping people don't find it boring. I also stick to vegetables and sometimes usually before a long run I have 1 slice of multi-grain bread (I am trying to find a better substitute for this), I just realized around Diwali I had a bit of Indian snacks for Diwali, (the last time was last Diwali) but this time I was feeling so uneasy after eating and the surprise was I really did eat very little as compared to what I used to eat...

  3. Very nice post. Thank you again. Happy weekend.

  4. "grilled vegetables and meat" for lunch (or dinner) sounds good to me.....

    All the best Jan