Benefits of Carbohydrates
How Carbs Benefit Health

Carbs in Food
Glycemic Index GI of Carbs
Glycemic Load of Carbs
GI Diet - Low GI Diet

Carbs Information - Synthesis of Carbohydrates - Carb Science

How Do Carbohydrates Benefit The Body?

Carbs Are a Source of Easily Obtained Energy

The principal benefit of carbs is easily-obtained energy in the form of glucose. When we eat foods containing carbohydrate, digestive enzymes in the mouth (saliva), stomach and intestine rapidly break it down into simple sugars and ultimately glucose. The glucose is then absorbed through the walls of the intestine into the bloodstream, and then either distributed to cells and muscles with the help of insulin for immediate use, or retained as an energy reserve in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, or stored as body fat.

Although protein gives us glucose too, it takes much longer. Furthermore, some cell tissues (eg. in the brain) depend upon glucose from carbohydrate, which is why one of the side-effects of low-carb diets is a reduction in brain function. The ease and speed with which the body can convert glucose from simple carbs into energy, is illustrated by the fact that diabetics suffering an episode of hypoglycemia (very low blood glucose levels) can make an almost instant recovery after eating a couple of cubes of sugar, or equivalent.

Carbs Benefit Muscle Tissue

When our body needs energy it first looks for glucose from carbohydrates. If insufficient carb glucose is available from food (eg. because your diet is very low carb, or because you have metabolic disorders preventing normal use of available glucose), the body helps itself to glucose stored as glycogen in fatty tissue. If more energy is needed, the body then burns protein tissue in the muscles. In short, the availability of carbohydrate energy prevents the body from breaking down muscle tissue for fuel.

Very Complex Carbohydrates (Fiber) Benefits Digestion

Dietary fiber is classified into 2 types: insoluble and soluble. Both types of fiber are composed of dense indigestible polysaccharide carbs whose structure cannot be converted into glucose by human digestive enzymes. Paradoxically, the indigestibility of fiber makes it a very healthy addition to our daily diet.

Insoluble fiber (eg. cellulose, a few hemicelluloses and lignin in plants and whole grains) benefits digestion by stimulating peristalsis - the muscle movements that propel food along the colon. Being bulky, the fiber allows the colonic muscles to get a better "grip". Point is, if food moves faster through the large intestine, the risk of digestive disorders (eg. constipation, diverticulitis, even colon cancer) is reduced.

Soluble fiber (eg. pectin from apples, beta-glucans from oats) appears to reduce cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease.

Both insoluble and soluble fiber helps to make us feel full after a meal, and keeps us full for longer. This extra satiety-effect reduces the risk of overeating and consequent excess calorie-intake, which benefits obesity and weight management.

Very Complex Carbohydrate Benefits Blood Sugar Levels

Sometimes, eating too many high GI carbs (the ones that are very quickly broken down into glucose in the stomach) can trigger a very rapid rise in blood sugar. This "sugar-spike" can cause food cravings, appetite swings and, over time, impaired glucose tolerance or insulin insensitivity.

However, the presence of dietary fiber in the digestive tract can help to slow down this conversion of carbs to glucose. Result? Blood sugar levels rise at a more normal speed thus avoiding the above health problems.

Other Benefits of Carbohydrates

Certain carbs benefit digestion by providing nutrients for healthy bacteria in the gut. In addition, carbs may benefit calcium levels by increasing calcium absorption from food.

Carbohydrates Definition
Carbohydrates Information
Complex Carbs Guide
Simple Carbs Guide
Starch/Starchy Carbohydrates
Sugars Carbohydrates
Carb Counting Guide
Facts About Carbohydrates
Diabetes, Carbs and Diet

Fiber in Diet
Dietary Fiber
Types of Fiber
Best Sources of Fiber
Benefits of Fiber
Daily Fiber Needs

Nutrition & Carbohydrate
Nutrition in Carbs
Minerals in Carbohydrates
Vitamins in Carbohydrates
Phytochemicals in Carbs

Carbs and Glycemic Index
Digestion of Carbs
Blood Glucose Levels
Glucose into Energy
What is Glycogen?
How is GI Measured?
What Affects Glycemic Value?
Glycemic Index Food Chart
Glycemic Index Food Pyramid
Glycemic Value of a Meal
GI Values in Carbohydrates
GI Value For Beans
GI Value For Bread
GI Value For Cereal
GI Value For Dairy Food
GI Value For Drinks
GI Value For Fruit
GI Value For Meat/Fish
GI Value For Nuts
GI Value For Snacks
GI Value For Starchy Carbs
GI Value For Sugar
GI Value For Vegetables
GI Value For Whole Grains

Carbohydrate in Foods
Atkins Diet Foods
Energy Bars
Flour/Baking Foods
Ice Cream
Milk, Cream,Yogurt

Carbs in Food cont/
Soy Food
Zone Diet Foods

Diet Recipes
GI Diet Recipes
Low Carb Recipes

Carb-Controlled Diets
Atkins Diet
South Beach Diet
Zone Diet
Low Carb Dieting
Benefits of Low Carb Diets
Low Carb Diets Health Risks
Ketosis - High Ketones in Blood
Gluconeogenesis Guide
Free Low Carb Diet Advice
Low Carb Weight Loss Diet

Diabetes, Insulin, Obesity
Diabetes Information
Hyperglycemia - High Blood Glucose
Hypoglycemia - Low Blood Glucose
Obesity Information
Diabesity, Diabetes and Obesity
Insulin Information
Insulin and Obesity
Types of Insulin
Hyperinsulimia - High Insulin Levels
Insulin Resistance Syndrome provides general information about different types of carbohydrate, like monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, as well as nutritional value of carbohydrates, carb-content of foods, plus details of GI values of all food groups, plus advice about diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.