Carbohydrates are macronutrients which are readily available as a source of energy. They’re necessary for a healthy diet. There are two forms of carbohydrates:
- Simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars)
- Complex carbohydrates (or starches)
They are broken down into blood sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream. As the sugar level rises the pancreas secrete insulin hormone which is needed to move sugar from the blood to cells and further used as energy.
The carbs in some foods are easily broken down and cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. On the other hand, Complex carbs are broken down more slowly, allowing blood sugar to rise gradually. A diet that’s high in foods that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar may increase a person’s developing health problems like diabetes.
Foods that replace sugars and carbs are:
- Fibre-Rich Carbohydrates: Fiber-rich carbohydrates can replace simple carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Even though fruits and vegetables contain some simple carbs, they are also packed with fibre and nutrients.
- Lean Protein: Protein such as Lean beef, poultry, fish and eggs are all foods that do not contain carbohydrate but are loaded with proteins. Protein foods also provide energy and give the feeling of satiety. Proteins are called building blocks of every cell in the body and are an important element of a healthy diet.
- Healthy Fats: Fats have more nutritional value than sugars. Fats from plant-based sources provide important fatty acids that reduce the blood cholesterol levels and decrease insulin levels. This may also lower the risk of heart disease. Oils, nuts, seeds and avocados are good sources of healthy fat.
- Vegetables: Vegetables are complex carbohydrates which are nutritionally superior to simple carbs. Most of the vegetables are low in calories, have little or no fats, and are a source of dietary fibre with no added sugars. Furthermore, vegetables are also a source of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are needed for normal body functions and reduces the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and lowering blood pressure.