The Six Classes of Nutrients:
- Fats / Lipid
In this section we will talk about carbohydrates.
- Main and 1st source of energy.
- One gram of carbohydrate gives 4 Kcal (calorie) energy
Example: Rice, bread, sweets, pasta, chocolates, candy, sugar, honey, wheat, fruits, vegetables and so many others
Once we eat carbohydrate, it is broken down into smaller unit glucose (mainly) and fructose inside our intestine. Then from intestine glucose and fructose enters our blood circulation. Once glucose (not fructose) enters blood, pancreas (an organ in our body) releases insulin hormone. Without this hormone, glucose cannot go inside the cell. However, for brain cells, kidney cells and eye cells glucose can go inside without the help of insulin. Insulin not only puts glucose inside the cell, but also converts excess glucose into fat. If glucose does not go inside the cell, our body cannot generate energy. In case of diabetes, our body has less insulin due to damaged pancreas or insulin does not work properly. This makes high blood sugar. So in diabetes our body has difficulty to use glucose. But, as I said for brain cells, kidney cells and eye cells glucose can go inside without the help of insulin, high blood glucose will cause damage of those cells.
There are 2 different types of carbohydrates:
- Simple Carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates are converted into glucose inside our intestine very fast and enter our blood circulation. This is called high Glycaemic Index (GI). This causes rapid rise of blood glucose and put pressure on pancreas to release high amount of insulin faster.
Example of Simple Carbohydrates: Refined Sugars, cake, candy, fruits, vegetables, fruits & Milk. Simple carbohydrates are also lack of vitamins, minerals and fibres except fruits, vegetables & milk
- Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are converted into glucose inside our intestine slowly and glucose enters our blood circulation slowly as well. This is called low Glycaemic Index (GI). This does not cause rapid rise of blood glucose and do not put pressure on pancreas
Example of Complex Carbohydrates: Breads, legumes, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables. Complex Carbohydrates also provide vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Points to remember:
- We should avoid/eat less simple carbohydrate, so that it our pancreas has less pressure and remains healthy.
- We should eat more complex carbohydrate.
- Although fruits contains simple carbohydrate, it has a mixture of fructose and glucose. As fructose does not stimulate pancreas to release insulin, it does not put pressure on pancreas. In addition, fruits have lots of vitamins, minerals, and fibres. That is why we should eat more fruits, but not so many at one shot. Because, excess fructose will be converted into fat, too. One standard serving of any fruits 2 to 3 times per day is considered healthy for normal individuals.