Carbohydrates – also called carbs – are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. Carbohydrates provide and energy for the brain and other working muscles. They also prevent protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism.

In the body, carbs break down into smaller units of sugar, such as glucose and fructose. The small intestine absorbs these smaller units, which then enter the bloodstream and travel to the liver. The liver converts all of these sugars into glucose, which is carried through the bloodstream — along with insulin — and converted into energy for basic body functioning and physical activity.

Effects of taking more carbohydrates than you need

►  Hyperglycemia – blood sugar level exceeds the safe range.

►  Weight gain – as the excess carbohydrates are converted to fat and stored in the body.

►  Insulin resistance – the cells don’t respond well to insulin, and more insulin is demanded from the pancreas.

►  Brain fog – feeling of confusion and disorientation.

Effects of taking less carbohydrates than you need

►  Hypoglycemia – blood sugar level falls below the safe range.

►  Fatigue – feeling tired most of the time.

►  Headache – as the brain does not receive enough fuel.

►  Constipation or diarrhea – due to unstable digestive system.

►  Brain fog – feeling of confusion and disorientation.

Foods that contain carbohydrates

►  All grains including rice, wheat, barley and oats.

►  All fruits and fruit juices

►  Beans

►  Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas

►  Milk, yogurt and ice cream

►  Sugar, honey, sweets and sugar sweetened beverages

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