How to Lose Weight: What are Carbohydrates?

After protein needs have been supplied, our next thought must be to meet our energy needs.

Fats are an essential part of the diet and a good source of energy. They insulate the body and are the carriers of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, K, E and essential fatty-acids. Animal – fats such as butter and ghee as also vegetable fats like vanaspati, coconut and palm oils are high in saturated fatty acids which are implicated in heart disease. Therefore, their intake should be minimized. Vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, soyabean, corn and groundnut have a higher amount of unsaturated fatty acids and are preferable to saturated fats. The average urban diet is high in fat and steps must be taken to reduce the fat intake.

Suggestions to help reduce the fat intake are :

Use low fat cooking methods like steaming, poaching or baking instead of frying.
Use vegetable oils in cooking. Use non-stick vessels.
Use skin and low fat milk. Avoid cream and processed cheese.

What are Carbohydrates ?

Carbohydrates are the principal source of energy for the body. Foods we eat contain two types of carbohydrates – simple and complex.

The simple or refined carbohydrates include : sugar white flour, sweets, chocolates, cakes etc. and are poor in fibre content. The complex or natural carbohydrate include whole-grains, vegetables, beans and fruits and are rich in fibre -content.

Which carbohydrate is better among the two? Kindly explain.

Upto the middle of 1900’s about 40 percent of our energy intake came from such fibre-rich natural carbohydrates as vegetables, whole-grain, cereals and fresh fruits. In those days, obesity was not so common. Today, only about 20 percent of the average Indian’s daily energy intake comes from natural carbohydrates. Fibre-rich carbohydrates have been replaced by refined carbohydrates which are often enriched with sugar, salt and fat. As a result, the incidence of obesity and associated killer diseases has risen dramatically. Because of this, the trend is now back to liberal use of natural carbohydrates in a balanced diet. There are of course, many good reason why you should eat generous amount of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.

In addition to being rich in stomach-filling bulk in the form of water and fibre, natural carbohydrates are rich in essential nutrients. Although carbohydrate foods do not contain all the essential amino acids ( the building blocks of protein) the protein they supply in a balanced diet are enough to form a complete protein that reduced your need for fat-rich animal protein.

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