One of the most widely shunned sources of fuel is carbohydrates. This macro-nutrient gets blamed for weight gain and various other health issues. While it's true that they don't always agree with every body type, it's important to make sure your carb consumption is based on nutritional theory and your own bio-individuality as opposed to the latest fad diet trend. If you have strong reason to believe that you do need to limit your carb intake, the information you find here may be helpful but it's a good idea to also see a health professional.
What are carbohydrates?
Quite literally, carbohydrates are molecules made from atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Dietary carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients (the other two being protein and fat) and contain starch, sugar, and fiber.
Carbs are divided into two categories: simple carbs and complex carbs. Sugar (or glucose) is a simple carb, which means it's used for energy and is easily digested. Too much of it, however, causes blood sugar levels to spike – and that can have an adverse effect on your health. Fiber falls under the complex carb category, which means it takes longer to digest and has less of an impact on blood sugar levels.
Complex carbs include foods like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. Technically, fruits fall into the complex carb category but some have more sugar than fiber and vice versa. Typically, exotic fruits like mango and pineapple have more sugar than fiber while berries have more fiber than sugar.
Beneficial gut bacteria need carbs to grow. Oats, bananas, and yogurt are ideal carbs for good gut health.
Some bodies struggle to digest and metabolize carbs. This is called carbohydrate intolerance and occurs when we consume more simple carbs. Some symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance are diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence.
Carbohydrate intolerance is the result of a lack of one or more intestinal enzymes. The most common type of carbohydrate intolerance is lactose intolerance. These enzyme deficiencies can be what is called congenital or developmental lactose intolerance, but cases like this are rare and are inherited.
The Two Week Test can help you discover if you have carbohydrate intolerance.
Those with carbohydrate sensitivity usually have higher insulin levels within their blood leading to insulin resistance. This issue can cause diabetes in the future.