Carbohydrates! Why do we need carbohydrates?! Well, they are the major energy source that we can intake as humans. From donuts, candy, pasta, rice, anything is a carbohydrate! A carbohydrate is basically a single or many sugar molecules connected together. Why do you think people get a “sugar high”?
The process of breaking down sugar begins in your mouth. When you put a carbohydrate-containing food inside your mouth, enzymes from the saliva in your mouth begin to break down the carbohydrates. After you swallow your food, it travels to your stomach where digestion awaits. Your stomach breaks down carbohydrates into sugar molecules. The sugar molecules pass through the lining of your stomach and get absorbed into your bloodstream.
As broken down carbohydrates flow in your bloodstream, they still need to be transferred to cells throughout the body! Your body’s pancreas then secretes a hormone called insulin, which sends the sugars floating in your blood to body cells. However, certain types of sugar such as sucrose, cause a spike in insulin. Some people whom are diabetic might not have the efficient insulin amount to use up all the sugar that is digested. It is important to know, and be sure not to eat over the amount of carbohydrates that your body can properly digest.
Carbohydrates are often grouped into a single category, but they include three distinct types: sugar, starch and fiber. It is important to note that only sugar and starch carbohydrates get broken down into sugar molecules. Fiber is not converted into sugar, but rather, it passes through your body without being digested. The combination of sugar, starch and fiber carbohydrates make up what is known as your total carbohydrate intake.