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Carbohydrates

  • Provide energy for muscles, fuel for the central nervous system, enables fat metabolism, protein sparing, and brain fuel. 
  • Found in Grains, Fruits, Milk groups, and vegetables. 
  • Broken down into smaller units then sent to the Liver and converted to glucose which is sent back to the blood stream for energy. 
    • Stored as Glycogen.  If storage is full the remaining glucose is stored as fat
    • Muscle:         400 gms                    1600 calories
      • Only used in the muscle it is stored in
    • Liver:              100 gms                    400 calories
    • Blood:            25 gms                       100 calories
  • Needs
    • Brain              120 gms                    480 kcal                     60% of daily glucose bodily needs
  • Availability
    • Low Intensity: 2 hours
    • High Intensity: 20 minutes
  • Added vs. Natural Sugars
    • Added sugars have no nutritional benefits = table sugar and high fructose corn syrup
    • Natural sugars also contain water, fiber, and various micronutrients
  • Simple vs Complex
    • Simple: Sugar
      • Quickest source of energy
      • Table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, jams, fruit / soft drinks, candy, white rice
        • Sugar = Sucrose, High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dehydrated can juice, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, etc
      • Maximum Amount (According to the American Heart Association)
        • Men: 37.5 gms = 150 calories = 9 teaspoons
        • Women: 25 gms = 100 calories = 6 teaspoons
        • Pre-Schoolers: 16 gms = 64 calories = 4 teaspoons
        • Children 4 – 8: 12 gms = 48 calories = 3 teaspoons
        • 2008 Average: 76.7 gms / day = 306 calories = 19 teaspoons
          • 60 pounds / year
      • Avoid: Soft drinks, Fruit juices, Candies, Sweets, Baked Goods, Canned fruits, Dried fruits
      • Add: Cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, vanilla, ginger, or lemon, Stevia (natural zero-calorie alternative)
      • Terms:
        • Sugar – Free: less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving
        • Reduced / Less Sugar: at least 25% less than standard serving
        • No added sugar: no sugar is added
        • Low sugar: not defined or allowed as a food label claim
      • Sugar Substitutes
        • Novel
          • Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf)
        • Natural
          • Agave Nectar, Date Sugar, Fruit Juice, Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses
        • Alcohol
          • Erythritol, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Isomalt, , Malitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol
        • Artificial
          • Aspartame (Equal, Nutra Sweet)
          • Saccharin (Sweet N Low, SugarTwin)
          • Sucralose (Splenda)
    • Complex: Starches and Fiber – Not stored
      • Often rich in vitamins and minerals
      • Green veggies, whole grains, oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, lentils, peas
      • Take longer to digest leading to a slow, steady increase in glucose and insulin levels
      • Energy produced more slowly but last longer
      • Fiber
        • Men = 38 grams                  Women = 25 grams
        • Soluble: can be broken down and provide energy
          • Found in many fruits and green leafy vegetables, celery, carrots, apples, pears.
        • Insoluble: cannot be digested in our system and does not provide energy.
          • Commonly found in whole grain cereal, bread, and rice. 
          • Promotes gut motility and satiety
      • Starch (30 – 40 g per day)
        • A main energy source (sugar the other)
          • Starch contains vitamins and minerals simple sugars do not
        • Dietary Starch
          • Breaks down into glucose providing a more gradual release of energy than simple carbs
          • Can lower blood cholesterol, and reduce constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis
          • Legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains
        • Resistant Starch: pass undigested in the colon and function much like dietary fiber and provide nutrition for beneficial bacteria in the colon
          • Found inside indigestible cell walls of plants
            • Raw potatoes, green bananas, plantains
          • Indigestible unless heated
            • Corn, peas, and squash
          • Sometimes called retrograde, because a post cooking cooling period makes them indigestible
            • Potatoes, rice, and legumes
          • Last is chemically modified and not a natural starch
  • Insulin / Pancreas
  • Glycemic Index
    • Low Glycemic foods (55 or less)
      • Brown Rice (55), Basamati (52), Sweet Potato (46)
      • Thicken in the digestive tract slowing absorption
    • High Glycemic foods (70 or higher) à leads to Diabetes
      • Glucose (100), White Bread (79), Sweet potato baked > 46 minutes (94)
  • When to eat Carbohydrates
    • 2 – 4 hours before exercise
      • Allow for digestion time
      • A meal rich in carbohydrates. 400 – 800 kCal meal with 250 – 500 kcal (65 – 125 gm)
      • Whole grian bagel with tomato slices and low fat cheese OR one cup of banana slices in vanilla yogurt OR a small portion of spaghetti and meat sauce OR and energy bar and a fruit combo
      • Liquid meals are recommended for sensitive stomachs
    • 1 – 2 hours before exercise
      • Prevent hunger and indigestion with a carbohydrate beverage, low fat smoothie, or fruit
    • Less than 1 hour before exercise
      • Only water and fluid replacement beverage (pedialite is best)
      • Minimize high GI foods to avoid hypoglycemic attack from insulin surge from pancreas and exercise
    • 5 – 10 minutes before exercise
      • Short exercise a simple carbohydrate COULD
      • Long exercise, avoid simple sugars and drink a sports drink
    • During exercise
      • 15 – 30 g of carbs every 30 minutes
    • After exercise
      • Within 30 minutes 25 – 100 gm of carbs
      • Also add 20 g of protein to initiate muscle synthesis and repair
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