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Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules and are important energy suppliers for muscles and brain. They are also involved in the regulation of protein and fat metabolism. The body needs energy 24 hours a day, the majority of which is used for the basal metabolic rate, i.e. for vital functions of the body, such as breathing, heartbeat, brain activity or maintaining body temperature. In addition to this, the organism naturally needs further energy for any physical activity that is to be performed.

Three different types of carbohydrates are distinguished:

Single sugars (monosaccharides), such as glucose, fructose.

Dual sugars (disaccharides), e.g. household sugar, milk sugar

Multiple sugars (polysaccharides), e.g. starch.

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are mainly found in sweets and chocolate. They taste very sweet, but do not provide any vitamins or minerals; the exception here is fruit. Simple carbohydrates are quickly utilised, but do not satisfy for long: they cause a high release of insulin, which causes the blood sugar level to drop quickly and increases the risk of cravings.

In contrast, multiple sugars, or complex carbohydrates, come mainly from cereals, potatoes and wholemeal products. Those foods that contain a large amount of polysaccharides are usually also good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Complex carbohydrates are characterised by a longer molecular structure, which means that the body needs more time to break them down. The blood sugar level thus remains more constant - a feeling of satiety occurs and cravings are prevented.