What are carbohydrates?
There are a range of different carbohydrates, ranging from individual glucose molecules and sugars, to larger carbohydrates chains such as starches. Our digestive systems break down carbohydrates to release individual sugar molecules which are absorbed into the bloodstream. Carbohydrates are essential to maintain blood glucose levels, providing fuel for our muscles and brain. A low blood glucose level (known as hypoglycaemia) can make us feel tired, dizzy and generally unwell.
Carbohydrate foods are an important fuel, but also provide an amazing range of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health, as well as fibre for a healthy digestive system.
Not all carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at the same rate, and the type of carbohydrate can have a specific influence on health and energy levels. Low gi foods tend to be better for us as they release sugar into the blood stream slowly and evenly, which will help maintain higher energy levels and assist weight loss as the body converts less sugar into glycogen and fat.
Sustainability is a major factor in weight loss and a healthy food intake should incorporate changes that are long-term. Many popular 'diets' are difficult to adhere to and are not enjoyable. Eating should be pleasurable and it is important to consume a wide variety of foods for enjoyment and nutritional adequacy.