Body and limbs: Nutrition; carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, also called saccharides or sugars, are the nutrient that the human organism needs in proportionately the largest amount.


Are formed in plants from inorganic compounds by solar energy and with the help of chlorophyll. Because this process, so-called photosynthesis, is the only process known in nature in which an organic nutrient is created from inorganic compounds, carbohydrates must be seen as basic products for fats and proteins. Carbohydrates are the classic short- and medium-term energy consumers for our organism.
To distinguish between the various carbohydrate forms, the information is how quickly a certain sugar from food is available to the body. During the digestive process, all forms of sugar, regardless of the length of the chain, are split into simple sugars. The longer the sugar chain of origin, the longer it takes before the influence on blood sugar levels is noticeable.
Simple and dual sugars are quickly absorbed (absorbable) carbohydrates, which can also be quickly detected in the blood. Sugar dissolved in a food drink requires about half an hour to an hour before it can be absorbed through the mucous membrane of the small intestine; Sugar from a fruit takes one to two hours before it enters the blood. In certain cases, the influence on the sugar level can be demonstrated more quickly.
When using dextrose or glucose, for example, part of the sugar is reabsorbed by the oral mucosa. Because under normal conditions only about five grams of glucose are dissolved in the total amount of blood, it quickly enters the blood, significantly increasing the blood sugar level. In response to the rapid increase in blood sugar levels, the pancreas releases the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin to lower the blood sugar level back to normal values (80-120 mg 0/0).
Figuratively speaking, insulin closes the door to the body cell, allowing glucose to enter the cell. This causes the blood sugar level to drop accordingly. Because a surplus amount of insulin is released as a precaution in response to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, this regulatory measure may cause blood sugar levels to become lower than before sugar intake.
A correct and balanced mixed diet must therefore take into account an optimal mixture of fast and slowly absorbable carbohydrates and indigestible carbohydrates, the so-called ballast substances. These indigestible components in plant foods are chemically considered carbohydrates. Some ballast substances such as cellulose actually have a structure that is virtually identical to starch. Both starch and cellulose consist of very long and branched glucose, i.e. grape sugar, chains. However, they differ from each other in the way in which the various grape sugar elements are connected.
While the connection point of starch in humans can be cleaved by a body’s own enzyme, humans do not have an enzyme to cleave the connection point of cellulose. For this reason, ballast substances are excreted undigested by the body. Until the 1970s, it was therefore assumed that ballast materials were unnecessary, which is also reflected in the name.
Only later was a connection discovered between the amount of digested fiber and the occurrence of certain diseases. For example, intestinal diseases, such as colon cancer, are virtually unknown among South African people who eat mainly plant-based foods and whose absorption of fiber is more than four times ours. It is now convinced that the fibers provide important protection against intestinal diseases and also against diseases of the cardiovascular system. Therefore, the consumption of 30 grams of fiber per day is recommended. In reality we only use 20 grams every day.
The most important property of bulk materials is their swelling capacity. They bind water, causing the food to swell and fill the stomach and intestines better due to the larger volume. Foods rich in fiber remain in the stomach longer, but pass through the intestine faster by stimulating intestinal motor activity, the so-called peristalsis.
On the one hand, this means an increased feeling of satiety and on the other hand, the contact of harmful substances with the mucous membrane of the intestine is shorter. Because ballast substances are not split in the digestive process and therefore cannot be absorbed into the blood or lymphatic fluid through the intestinal mucosa, they also do not provide energy.

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