Macronutrients: Carbohydrates – Part 2 –

Should you eliminate all carbs from your diet? 

Hello again! This is a question I hear all the time and here is my second blog post focused solely on carbohydrates. This time we are delving into the world of complex carbohydrates. To start, complex carbohydrates are also known as polysaccharides and are long chains of glucose that form glycogen, starch, and most fibers.

Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in animals. Even if you consume meat, glycogen is still not a dietary source of complex carbohydrates since most of the glycogen stored in animal muscle is lost during the slaughtering process.

Starch is a plant’s storage form of glucose. Sources of starches are grains (wheat, rice, corn, oats, and barley), legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), and tubers (potatoes and yams). However, humans cannot use starches exactly as they exist in plants and must breakdown starches into glucose. While there are some starches that are easily digested, there are also some that are indigestible.

Indigestible starch is also referred to as fiber. An example of this is seen with legumes. You might have noticed that when you consume a lot of beans you feel gassy. This occurs when indigestible starch enters your intestine and are fermented by bacteria that produce a fatty acid called butyrate. However, it might be worth suffering through some of the gas and bloating as butyrate has also been suggested to reduce risk for cancers. We can look more into the research on this in the future. If you’re interested, let me know!

Fiber provides structure in plants. There are two types of fiber soluble and insoluble fiber. As the name suggests, soluble fiber dissolves in water. They are viscous and can be digested by bacteria in the colon. In turn, insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, are not viscous, and cannot be digested. However, both are still important parts of a healthy diet since insoluble fibers provide bulk to help to keep you regular. There really is so much to talk about surrounding fiber, so I’m sure I will need to write another post diving deeper into fiber. If you have any questions, comment below and I will make sure to address them in my future fiber post!

The Takeaway

Complex carbohydrates are digested slower than simple carbohydrates and this helps you feel full longer. Therefore, complex carbohydrates keep you full, keep you regular, and promote healthy bacteria growth in your gut. They are a good post-workout snack and should be included at each meal. Are you ready to enjoy a complex carbohydrate rich meal after reading this post? You’re in luck! Click here to find my banana and almond butter oatmeal.

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