What Happens to Those Carbs Once Inside?

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Published: 16th June 2010
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Have you ever noticed how people get sleepy after eating a meal high in carbohydrates? Did you ever wonder why this is? The main condition that makes us sleepy comes from elevated levels of blood sugar. What makes carbs turn to sugar? Well, when your body breaks down carbohydrates, they become cellulose or starch. Starches further break down into two groups - complex sugars, or disaccharides, and simple sugars, or monosaccharide. Our body is made to utilize these sugars in producing the energy we need. As we eat food, our body converts it into energy we can use, although it may go through some other stages before it turns into energy. Carbs only turn into saccharides after they become starches, and if the body doesn't require the energy right away, glucose can be held within these starches. Let's take some time to explain what carbohydrate sugars are and where we can find them.

Glucose, galactose, and fructose, are the sugars known as monosaccharides. Our bodies produce the sugar known as glucose. We get our galactose by absorbing nutrients from milk and yogurt. Finally, fructose is a sugar that comes from honey.

Lactose, sucrose, and maltose are the sugars we call disaccharides. Galactose from milks and glucose combine to form lactose. Sucrose is found commonly in table sugar. When you combine two units of glucose, you get maltose as a product of digesting starch.

What noticeable effects do these sugars have on our bodies? For one, by consuming more carbs, starch, or sugars than you really need, your body will keep the excess in storage as glycogen. Marathon runners are one of the only groups of people who benefit from storages of glucose, as they eat foods rich in carbohydrates before their race so they can keep going over long periods of physical fitness. When your levels of stored fat become too high, your body grows and grows, and you run the risk of becoming morbidly obese. Unfortunately, we have reached this point presently in America. A large amount of our population is classified as obese - reaching levels so extreme, it's called an epidemic.

We have a greater tendency to gain weight by overindulging in carbohydrates. When we become overweight, what happens within our bodies? When we are obese, our organs fail to function properly either because they are surrounded by fats or we have simply become too large for them to work as they should.

Whatever the case may be, our bodies undergo many problems by eating too many carbohydrates. One effective way of limiting our carb intake is by eating more lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. In this same way, we can eat fewer carbohydrates by watching out for overindulgences of bread, cereal, rice, grains, and pasta.

Another option open to us in lowering our carbohydrate intake is by working out more. Carbs serve as a sort of fuel producer in each of our bodies - the energy mentioned earlier. To rid ourselves of carbohydrates we don't need, we just need to increase our fuel consumption by working out daily. Now would be the perfect time to start exercising, if you aren't already.

You can achieve optimum health simply by understanding the basic building blocks you need to get there. By a daily regimen of exercise and proper nutrition, eating responsibly, understanding what goes into the foods that you eat, and whether or not your body needs them, you can achieve the healthy lifestyle that will keep you fit for years to come.

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