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Carbohydrates, the body’s favorite fuel


After talking about the importance of protein and fat in a diet, carbohydrates are no less important. Carbohydrates are molecules of the macronutrient family, their main role is to provide the body with raw energy which it will use both in physical, mental activities and to perform vital functions. Using the carbohydrates consumed, the body makes glucose, a sugar that powers brain cells and is stored as glycogen in muscles.

Glycemic index

The glycemic index (GI) is a criterion for classifying carbohydrates; we speak about carbohydrates with a low, moderate or high glycemic index. It is defined as the ability of a carbohydrate to increase blood sugar (amount of glucose in the blood) after digestion. To regulate the amount of sugar in the blood, the body secretes insulin, an anabolic hormone (promoting tissue building). Eating large amounts of high glycemic index carbohydrates will cause a significant release of insulin. Therefore, you increase your chances of building adipose tissue (fat), and in the worst cases, developing diabetes in the long term. This is why, it is important to give priority to the sources of carbohydrates with low or even moderate GI and to use those with a high index only when you need fast-digesting sugars during prolonged physical effort. The duration of cooking as well as the presence of fats modify the glycemic index of a carbohydrate !

Carbohydrates sources

Foods rich in carbohydrates are not lacking and it suffices to favor those with a low glycemic index. The main popular sources that contain a significant amount are obviously starchy foods (wholegrain rice, wholegrain pasta, etc.) and cereals (oatmeal, rye, etc.). Fruits and legumes also supplement your need for carbohydrates in addition to providing essential vitamins and minerals. The table below classifies the different sources of carbohydrates according to their Glycemic Indexes to allow you to choose the ones that suit you while taking into account their classification :

How to manage your carbohydrates ?

In the context of the distribution of carbohydrates over a day, let us take the example of an individual weighing 80 kg of body weight, same as the example followed in the articles on proteins and fats. According to these articles, this practitioner will have consumed a total calorie of 1541 cal. As an example, suppose that this same individual needs a total calorie of 2900 cal just to be able to maintain himself. The amount of carbohydrates will differ depending on its goal : to lose weight, gain weight or continue to maintain his body weight.

  • Loosing weight

In this case, he must be in caloric deficit. Suppose he only needs 2,600 cal to start losing weight. He therefore has to consume a carbohydrate intake equivalent to 1059 cal.

  • Maintenance

To maintain your body weight, you just need to keep the same calorie intake and not change anything. To maintain himself, our practitioner must consume 2900 calories, or an intake of 1359 calories.

  • Gaining weight

For the latter case, he must add a caloric surplus. He therefore has to consume an intake equivalent to 1659 cal.

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