Carbohydrates: Your body’s energy powerhouse
Shaun Clayton, a certified nutritionist and Operations and Finance director at the PHA UK, explains more about this important macronutrient.
Have you ever wondered how your body manages to stay active throughout the day, allowing you to complete tasks and activities? Even when you feel wiped of energy due to PH?
Well, the answer lies in the wonderful world of carbohydrates! These little energy powerhouses play a crucial role in fuelling your body for everyday activities, from making breakfast or sorting out the washing, to playing with the grandkids or going for an afternoon walk.
So, let’s dive in and explore how carbohydrates become your reliable source of energy.
Imagine your body as a high-performance car, and carbohydrates are like the premium fuel that keeps it running smoothly. Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients, along with proteins and fats, that provide energy and nourishment to your body. They are found in various foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products.
When you eat foods rich in carbohydrates, your body starts the digestion process by breaking them down into simpler sugars like glucose. Glucose is like the fuel that powers your cells and tissues, giving you the energy to attack the day! Once glucose is produced, it enters your bloodstream and travels to every nook and cranny of your body, providing energy to your muscles, brain, and organs.
Now, here’s the cool part, your body knows exactly just how much glucose you need to tackle your day-to-day tasks. Any extra glucose that isn’t immediately used for energy gets stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen, ready to be released when you need an extra boost. It’s like having a reserve tank of energy to rely on during those intense physical moments or mentally demanding challenges.
Let’s see how carbohydrates power you through different activities:
1. Morning kickstart: Ever feel that instant burst of energy after eating a good hearty breakfast? That’s your body utilising the carbohydrates from your morning meal to get you up and running.
2. Physical activity: Whether it’s a gentle swim or a brisk walk with friends… anything physical at all really, carbohydrates play a crucial role in providing the energy required for your muscles to perform to their best.
3. Mental focus: Carbohydrates aren’t just for physical activities; they are also essential for mental focus and concentration. When you’re tackling a tricky problem that requires some serious brain power, your brain relies on glucose to keep those wheels turning.
4. Afternoon slump: Feeling a bit sluggish in the afternoon? A healthy carbohydrate-rich snack can give you the energy pick-me-up you need to power through the rest of the day.
5. Day-to-Day chores: From walking the dog to doing household chores, carbohydrates are there to keep you going, ensuring you have the stamina to get as much done as you can.
Now, it’s important to choose the right kinds of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels steady and avoid sudden crashes. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly, providing you with a steady supply throughout the day. Unfortunately, try as I might, I can’t find a single study that shows doughnuts are a ‘good’ fuel source… but I’ll keep looking!
On the other hand, simple carbohydrates like sugary treats and processed snacks may give you a quick energy spike, but they can lead to a sudden crash, leaving you feeling drained and hungry again soon after. (Doughnuts were mentioned in these though).
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy, fuelling you for all your day-to-day tasks and activities. Embrace a balanced diet that includes wholesome sources of carbohydrates to keep your energy levels stable all day long!
If you have a question about food and PH, email firstname.lastname@example.org and Shaun will happily provide some guidance.