Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy and dietary fiber. Carbohydrates are also intrinsically involved in many biologic processes.
It’s no accident that when we are hungry, we reach for carbohydrates, for carbohydrates are the form of energy our bodies prefer and digest first:
-Our cells prefer using carbohydrates to enter into the KREBS cycle, a complicated metabolic process that yields THE energy molecule, ATP
-Amylase is the enzyme in saliva that begins the breakdown process of carbohydrates into its usable units as sugars
In the context of nutrition, carbohydrates are referred to as simple or complex
—monosaccharides = 1 sugar molecule; glucose and fructose are monosaccharides
—disaccharides = 2 sugar molecules = 1 glucose and 1 fructose; lactose and sucrose are disaccharides
—polysaccharides = many monosaccharides joined by chemical bonds into chains and branches
—oligosaccharides = 2-10 monosaccharides joined by chemical bonds into chains and branches
Complex carbohydrates provide a higher quality source of energy with a longer breakdown process, which slows the onset of hunger and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
The plant sources of complex carbohydrates provide dietary fiber:
-The cellulose in the plant wall has polysaccharides and oligosaccharides
—The polysaccharides portion is made of insoluble fibers, and because humans lack the enzyme to digest cellulose, this material passes through the digestive tract nearly intact, helping to eliminate other toxins from the body with it
—The oligosaccharides can break down; they are the food source for the micro- flora in our digestive tract
-Compounds from plants are used in our cellular functioning and systemically
— Lower cholesterol, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral; bind to specific hormones that are in excess to clear the body of them and eliminate with solid waste; reduce hunger cravings
-Compounds from plants are commonly used in industry
—As thickening and binding agents for a multitude of products, from ice cream to pharmaceutical gels
Carbohydrate Digestion, Assimilation, and Synthesis
The storage carbohydrate in animals is glycogen. When not utilized by the body, carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the liver and in the muscles. Leftover leftovers are stored as fat.
Age, gender, general constitution, and activity levels vary from person to person, so recommending the proportions of protein, fat, and carbohydrate in the diet isn’t possible.
For every gram of carbohydrate you consume, you get 4 calories of energy- this is true for any type of carbohydrate. Here’s a link that gives you a general guideline of amounts for you, including vitamins and minerals for you, based on age, gender, and activity level.
At Mountaintop Acupuncture, we will review of your diet to figure out what your dietary needs are, and offer feedback and suggestions after assessing your condition, health history, and general constitution.
If you have questions and concerns about acupuncture treatment, we offer a free 20-minute phone session: click here for contact information to call or e-mail us. We practice at The Highlands Ranch Medical Pavilion in Littleton, Colorado.
Insurance is welcome and accepted.