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How many carbohydrates do we need?


In popular nutrition carbohydrates cause an ambiguous attitude. Proponents of the low-carbohydrate diets consider them as the main cause of obesity, and supporters of the separation of products by the glycemic index are convinced that carbohydrates can be “bad” and “good”.

In any case, carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the organism. They give cheerfulness and strength for training, provide brain activity, promote the function of heart and liver, participate in the regulation of fat and protein metabolism, are needed for normal functioning of the nervous and muscular systems.



Carbohydrates are divided into three types: simple (mono- and disaccharides), complex (starch) and fiber.

Simple carbohydrates are so named because of their simple structure, which contains only 1-2 elements (glucose, fructose, lactose). They are sweet to the taste and can be dissolved in water. Simple carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed in the intestine and sharply raise the blood sugar level, which leads to the same abrupt ejection of the hormone insulin by the pancreas.

Sources: sugar, honey, jam, white flour, pastries, confectionery, in the composition of dried fruit, fruit, berries, dairy products. 

Complex carbohydrates are named so because of the long chain of sugars, which allows them to be slowly digested and absorbed, to cause a moderate increase of the sugar level, to provide a feeling of satiety and be used for energy and not to be deposited into the fat.

Sources: all kinds of cereals except milled rice and semolina, bread and whole-wheat flour, legumes, baked potatoes, crispbread and pasta from durum flour. 

Fiber is a rough part of plant foods – cellulose and hemicellulose, pectin, lignin, gums. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar and fat, reduces the release of insulin in response to the carbohydrate food, improves peristalsis and helps to maintain a feeling of satiety.

Sources: non-starchy vegetables, unpeeled cereals and legumes, bran, fresh fruits and berries.


Recommended daily carb intake

Healthy people with normal weight and average active lifestyle need to consume 3.5-4.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of their body weight. People, who lead an active lifestyle or are engaged in heavy physical labor, need more carbs, and people, leading a sedentary lifestyle – less.

amount of carbohydrates

People who want to lose weight should calculate the daily amount of carbohydrates by subtracting the norms of protein and fats from the total calorie intake. Thus, there is no concept of “the norm of carbohydrates.” The amount of carbohydrates is chosen individually after the norm of fats and protein is already calculated, then it is adjusted on the basis of activity, weight and sensitivity to insulin. With the increased secretion of insulin, you need less carbs, and with normal – more.

The total amount of carbohydrates in a balanced ration should be not less than 100 grams per day:

the complex sources – 70-80%,

the simple – 20-30% (including fruits, dried fruits, dairy products),

the fiber – 25 grams.

The excess and the lack of carbohydrates

The excess of carbohydrates in your ration leads to the increase in its calorific value and weight gain, which leads to obesity and other diseases. With ab increased insulin secretion and a large number of carbohydrates your health deteriorates, you often feel drowsiness, fatigue, apathy.

The lack of carbohydrates leads to the deterioration of intellectual activity and operability, the hormonal system is disturbed – level of leptin is decreased, cortisol level is increased, the production of neurotransmitters is disrupted, which can cause insomnia or depression. If the reduction of carbohydrates is accompanied by a strong and prolonged caloric restriction, the production of thyroid hormones and sex hormones is disrupted. The lack of carbohydrates is always accompanied by a lack of fiber, which leads to the gastrointestinal problems.

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