Carbohydrates are organic compounds that encompass the food group known as “that which most of us love to eat the most.” Carbohydrates are sugars. There are two main classes of carbohydrates: simple sugars, and polysaccharides.
Simple sugars examples include glucose, galactose (the sugar found in dairy), and fructose (the sugar found in fruits. Polysaccharides are starches. Grain sources – wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, etc., as well as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, etc. Additionally, all the derivatives of those whole food sources: bread, pasta, chips, cookies, crackers are classified as starches.
Simple sugars and starch in the human body are both stored as glycogen. They are the primary and preferred fuel source for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – the basic unit of energy in the human body. Every carbohydrate, no matter how complex its chemical structure, ultimately becomes a simple sugar as it is broken down by the body for energy. This fact, though well-established in the medical literature, overlooks the additional fact that the human body is a relatively highly adaptable organism that molds to its environment.
Another way of saying this is that the human body’s “preferred fuel source” – ATP resulting from the breakdown of carbohydrates, is a direct result of human nature, which is commonly to seek out that which is sweet. As you will hopefully come to understand, there is often a difference between what we want and what we need.
Page 2 discusses a history of carbohydrates.
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