Which foods are carbohydrates found in? Benefits of carbohydrates

Which foods are carbohydrates found in? Carbohydrate is the most abundant organic substance in nature, it is a source of food and energy for our body. It plays an important role in blood coagulation, reproduction, and the immune system. It is one of the three macronutrients that make up the bulk of our diet along with fat and protein. Healthy carbohydrate sources include whole wheat bread, legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Dietitians recommend that we get 45-65% of our daily energy need from fibrous carbohydrates. Carbohydrate intake varies depending on age, activity level, and metabolic health. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are the main energy source used for metabolic processes and the production of cellular substances. Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides, are converted into glucose (blood sugar) by our digestive system. This sugar is used as energy for cells, tissues, organs; excess is stored in the liver and muscles. It is called simple or complex according to its chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, milk, and dairy products; They are sugars added to processed foods.

Complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber found in whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes. Excessive or poor quality carbohydrate consumption can cause serious health problems. However, insufficient carbohydrate intake is also harmful.

Properties of carbohydrate

  • It consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms.
  • It is among the four main classes of biomolecules; carbohydrates, proteins, nucleotides, lipids.
  • It is usually produced during photosynthesis.
  • The beginning of the synthesis of fats and proteins are essential components of cell walls.
  • They are found in the structure of nucleic acids that contain genetic information.
  • Since neurons cannot burn fat, the brain needs carbohydrates.
  • They contribute to the formation of blood groups.
  • 1 gram of carbohydrate contains about 4 kilocalories.

What do carbohydrates do?

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy and basic structural components in all living things. Long-term food storage molecules act as protective membranes, support, and skeletal material for organisms and cells.

Carbohydrate types

Simple carbohydrates


They provide a fast source of energy but are of short duration. Because they are absorbed quickly, they cause a significant increase in blood sugar.

Monosaccharides: It is the smallest sugar unit. Most important ones; glucose (dextrose, grape-corn sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), galactose. Glucose is the main energy source used as fuel in cells; known as blood sugar. Galactose in dairy products; Fructose is found freely in vegetables, fruits, and honey.
Disaccharides: Two molecules of monosaccharides linked together. Most important ones; lactose , maltose, sucrose. Lactose milk sugar is known as sucrose table sugar. It is generally found in fruits and vegetables, including sugar beet-cane, and dairy products.

Complex carbohydrates

They provide saturation for a long time; They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, wheat, legumes, and whole grains.

Polysaccharides: A chain of two or more monosaccharides. Starch in plants and glycogen in animals are polysaccharides. They represent most of the structural carbohydrates in nature. The ability of ruminant animals to convert grass polysaccharides into protein provides significant resources for humans.

Which foods are carbohydrates found in? Benefits of carbohydrates

Which foods are carbohydrates found in?

Carbohydrates are found in 3 different forms in foods; sugar, starch, and fiber.

  • Candy: Chocolate, sweets, white bread, added to carbonated drinks; Naturally occurring in honey, syrups (maple), nectars, dairy foods, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Starch: Bread, rice, potatoes, beans, breakfast cereals, whole-wheat pasta, and cereals with high starch content provide slow-release constant energy throughout the day.
  • Fiber: Compounds in the cell walls of plant foods that we cannot digest. It protects the digestive system, provides satiety; provides energy, contains B vitamins, vitamin E, and various minerals. Good sources of fiber include shelled vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole wheat bread and pasta, whole grains, brown rice, and legumes (beans, lentils). Soluble fibers such as bananas, apples, carrots, potatoes, oats, barely help to keep blood sugar and cholesterol under control.

What is a protein? In which foods is it found? Benefits and harms

Healthy (good) carbohydrate-containing foods

Unprocessed whole grains, high-fiber starchy foods, legumes, vegetables, fruits are foods that contain healthy carbohydrates and meet a significant part of our body’s vitamin, mineral, and fiber needs.

Ways to add healthy carbohydrates to your diet:

  •  Choose whole-grain foods: Start your day with whole-grain cereal with fiber, low sugar; Prefer whole wheat, rye, other whole-grain bread; You can try grains like brown rice or quinoa in salad form.
  • Choose whole fruit instead of juice: An orange contains twice as much fiber as a glass of orange juice and half as much sugar. Eating apples with their peels will provide more fiber than a glass of apple juice.
  • Eat more legumes: Legumes such as beans and chickpeas are good sources of carbohydrates and protein that are digested slowly.

Foods containing harmful carbohydrates

Unhealthy carbohydrate sources; white bread, pastries, french fries, popcorn, cookies, sweets, sodas, and highly processed, refined foods. These are simple carbohydrates that are easily digested, which can contribute to weight gain and cause diabetes and heart disease.

What are the benefits of carbohydrates?

Provides energy
Carbohydrates are converted to glucose (sugar) and provide energy to the body. Some of it is converted into oil for longer storage of energy. High-fiber starchy carbohydrates slowly release sugar into the bloodstream, forming the body’s main energy source in a healthy and balanced diet.

Protects from diseases
Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-grain starchy foods, and potatoes eaten with their skins. Foods rich in fiber protect intestinal health and reduce the risk of constipation. Some types of fiber reduce cholesterol levels; It has been observed that it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer.

Balances calories
Carbohydrate contains fewer calories than fat; While 1 gram of carbohydrate contains the same amount of protein, about 4 calories, 1 gram of fat is about 9 calories. Fibrous foods help maintain a healthy weight as they provide satiety. You can reduce the number of calories in your diet by replacing fatty, sugary foods and beverages with high fiber starchy foods.

Which foods are carbohydrates found in? Benefits of carbohydrates

Carbohydrate deficiency and excess

Carbohydrates have a great effect on glucose levels, they are also important food sources including calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Rather than focusing on a particular food or removing it from your diet, a balanced diet with unprocessed carbohydrates, adequate sleep, physical activity will help you stay healthy.

How much carbohydrate should I consume in a day?

The number of carbohydrates that should be consumed daily and which makes you feel full may vary according to age, activity level, and metabolic status. Protein-rich foods can help you feel full, but nutritionists believe that about a third of our diet should consist of starchy foods and over a third of fruits and vegetables. Half of the total calories should come from carbohydrates; It is recommended that we eat an average of 30 grams of fiber per day and consume about 275 grams of carbohydrates in total.

What kind of problems does carbohydrate deficiency create?

Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins all provide energy, but muscles work thanks to carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. In its absence, our body necessarily begins to use protein and fat for energy.

Cutting carbohydrate-containing foods is not enough for you to lose weight. The important thing is the number of calories you take. If you continue to eat the same amount of calories, you will gain weight; your blood sugar, insulin levels may rise. If you cut carbohydrates and eat a diet rich in fat and protein, your cholesterol may increase along with the proportion of saturated fat in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Carbohydrate deficiency can lead to loss of energy, premature fatigue, and slower recovery. In addition, when glucose drops in the blood, the body breaks down fat stored for energy. This process causes ketones to accumulate in the blood, resulting in ketosis, a metabolic disorder. In the short term, headache, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, and irritability may occur.

Is it dangerous to consume too many carbohydrates?

Dietitians recommend that carbohydrates provide 45-65% of your daily calorie intake. Consuming more than normal carbohydrates can lead to increased blood sugar, blood pressure, triglyceride levels and bad (LDL) cholesterol, and serious health problems in the long term. It should reduce the amount of sugar, meals should contain starchy carbohydrates with high fiber content.

How to use carbohydrate powder?

Carbohydrate powders; They are high-calorie supplements containing protein, fat, carbohydrate, mineral, vitamin, and amino acid. A single dose can range from 350-1200 calories. It is recommended to be taken by people with a high metabolic rate or who want to gain weight. If you are not careful, a high amount of calories will be loaded into the body and it can lead to excess weight. It should be used with exercise and diet programs. It can be mixed with water or milk and consumed.

What is a low carbohydrate diet?

The low carbohydrate diet that you will apply to lose weight in a healthy way should be based on unprocessed foods and healthy carbohydrate sources. Processed sugar and refined wheat need to be limited or removed entirely. In general, calorie intake should be reduced.

Low-carb diets drastically lower the levels of insulin hormone, which carries glucose into cells and stores fat and sodium; Your kidneys start to get edema, there is a decrease in abdominal fat.

How to make a low carbohydrate diet?
Carbohydrate intake can vary depending on age, gender, body weight, activity levels, food culture, and metabolic health. Those who are physically active can tolerate excess carbohydrates. The situation is different in patients with metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type II diabetes.

100-150 grams per day;
It is suitable for active people who want to stay healthy and maintain their weight. All vegetables, several fruits a day, grains such as rice, oats, healthy starches such as potatoes can be eaten.

50-100 grams per day;
It is a suitable range for those who want to lose weight effortlessly and those with a sensitivity to carbohydrates. It should contain plenty of vegetables, 2-3 fruits a day, and a minimum amount of starchy carbohydrates.

20-50 grams per day;
It is the range in which the metabolic benefits take effect; It is suitable for obesity and diabetes patients who need to lose weight quickly. They are carbohydrates from foods such as plenty of low-carb vegetables, certain fruits, avocados, nuts, and seeds.

What should a healthy carbohydrate diet include?

This diet limits your intake of carbohydrates such as sugar and starch; it replaces protein, whole grains, fat, and healthy vegetables. It is recommended that most healthy eating plates contain beneficial carbohydrates; Vegetables and fruits that cover half the plate and whole grains that fill approximately a quarter of the plate. Whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, rye, barley, quinoa are good choices.

A little protein, healthy fats, and vegetables at every meal; Choose meat, fish, eggs, nuts, sweet potatoes, avocados, oats, brown rice and dairy products, carbohydrates containing fiber, unrefined starch sources.

Carbohydrates and the glycemic index
Carbohydrates enter the bloodstream at different rates as glucose. The glycemic index (GI) is a grading system for carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each meal affects the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood. High GI carbohydrates enter the bloodstream quickly, raising blood sugar rapidly; Low GI carbohydrates enter slowly and take longer to digest. The way food is cooked and what you eat with it changes the GI level.

The factor that increases the Glycemic index of cereals; is the grinding process that removes the starchy interior, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. In the long term, avoiding foods with additives and choosing unrefined low Glycemic index foods is ideal for maintaining health and body weight.

Carbohydrate harms

Carbohydrates, glucose, and insulin in processed foods and beverages cause the person to feel hungry faster by rapidly raising their levels.

What kinds of diseases can carbohydrates cause?

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypertension

Carbohydrate and diabetes relationship

Insulin resistance
When carbohydrates converted to glucose raise blood sugar too much, beta cells in the pancreas release insulin, and blood sugar levels begin to drop. When it falls below a certain level, alpha cells release glucagon, levels that are too low rise. If blood sugar rises too quickly, cells cannot respond to insulin and need more insulin over time, this is called insulin resistance.

The effects of insulin resistance are known as metabolic syndrome and are linked to type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, it is taken by injections to deal with glucose because the body does not produce insulin. If you take insulin twice a day, it may be beneficial to consume a similar amount of carbohydrates at the same times each day.

Metabolic syndrome

There is evidence that low-carb diets provide weight loss and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes in the short term. Prolonged blood sugar control reduces the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. In addition to medication use, exercise, and regular sleep; A balanced diet low in saturated fat, salt, sugar, high in fiber, and fruits and vegetables is the best way to manage diabetes.