What are the functions of carbohydrates?
FBS - 104 - wow I ate like a Hoover Carbohydrate Vacuum cleaner yesterday. Actually I practiced the art of grazing - taking 1-2 hours to consume all of the food slowly and this year I filled my first plate with the meat to get my body ready and get the First Insulin response going a little faster. Might be something I try in the future.
BG after the meal - 158. For what I ate - OMG that was a great number and no medicines!
I want to continue on with what carbohydrates do for our body. I tried a no carbohydrate diet and it did lower my sugar levels - but at what price. I want you to know these fad diets are not good for us and the more you know about yourself and your body - the better you can be at controlling the beast within you!.
Two more functions of carbohydrates will be covered in thsi post.
Sparing Protein and Preventing Ketosis
First of all, maintaining a regular intake of carbohydrates will prevent protein from being used as an energy source. Gluconeogenesis will slow down and amino acids will be freed for the biosyntheses of enzymes, antibodies, receptors and other important proteins. Furthermore, an adequate amount of carbohydrates will prevent the degradation of skeletal muscle and other tissues such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Muscle tissue actually makes our bodies more efficient so we do not want to be consuming it for energy.
Most importantly, ketosis will be prevented. Although the brain will adapt to using ketones as a fuel, it preferentially uses carbohydrates and requires a minimum level of glucose circulating in the blood in order to function properly. Before the adaptation process occurs, lower blood glucose levels may cause headaches in some individuals. When I drop down to 70 BGthen I break out in a sweat that looks like I just excercisaed for hours and ran a marathon. I am lucky to get the warning - my neighbor does not and she just passes out.
To prevent these ketotic symptoms, it is recommended that the average person consume at least 50 to 100g of carbohydrates per day.
Although the processes of protein degradation and ketosis can create problems of their own during prolonged fasting, they are adaptive mechanisms during glucose shortages. In summary, the first priority of metabolism during a prolonged fast is to provide enough glucose for the brain and other organs that dependent upon it for energy in order to spare proteins for other cellular functions. The next priority of the body is to shift the use of fuel from glucose to fatty acids and ketone bodies. From then on, ketones become more and more important as a source of fuel while fatty acids and glucose become less important.
Flavor and SweetenersA less important function of carbohydrates is to provide sweetness to foods. Receptors located at the tip of the tongue bind to tiny bits of carbohydrates and send what humans perceive as a "sweet" signal to the brain. However, different sugars vary in sweetness. For example, fructose is almost twice as sweet as sucrose and sucrose is approximately 30% sweeter than glucose.
Sweeteners can be classified as either nutritive or alternative. Nutritive sweeteners have all been mentioned before and include sucrose, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and lactose. These types of sweeteners not only impart flavor to the food, but can also be metabolized for energy.
In contrast, alternative sweeteners provide no food energy and include saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame, and acesulfame. Controversy over saccharin and cyclamate as artificial sweeteners still exists but aspartame and acesulfame are used extensively in many foods in the United States. Aspartame and acesulfame are both hundreds of times sweeter than sucrose but only acesulfame is able to be used in baked goods since it is much more stable than aspartame when heated.
I cover the true aspects of Sweeteners in a previous post - I Crave Sweets.
May God grant us the ability to know when we need some energy added to our diet and may he also give us bodies that can let us know when we are having problems. May he grant us the ability to come to know and understand the balance of nutrients our body's need.