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What are long chain carbohydrates?

August 19, 2020
  • Nutrition
What are long chain carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are important for a balanced diet and should therefore not be missing. Carbohydrates make up a large part of our food and provide us with energy. They are an important factor in whether we want to lose weight or gain weight. Many diets like the low-carb diet are based on them.

What are carbohydrates?

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There are different types of nutrients in animal or plant foods. A distinction is made between micronutrients and macronutrients. The group of micronutrients includes vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates belong to the group of macronutrients along with fats and proteins.

But while fats and proteins mainly function as building materials in the body, carbohydrates serve as energy suppliers for the body and brain. Carbohydrates are composed of sugar molecules. Besides fructose and galactose, this includes glucose in particular. A certain amount of glucose in the blood causes the blood sugar level to rise. Glycogen is topped up.

So when we eat carbohydrates, our blood sugar level rises. The pancreas then simultaneously releases insulin to transport the glucose from the blood into the body cells. This causes the blood sugar level to drop again. The German Society for Nutrition recommends that about 50 percent of the energy in food should be taken in daily through foods containing carbohydrates.

Long chain carbohydrates explained

These are also called multiple sugars, complex carbohydrates or oligosaccharides. They are found, for example, in potatoes and pulses. Oat flakes also contain long-chain carbohydrates. Therefore, oat porridge or muesli made from oat flakes is ideal for a healthy breakfast. Oligosaccharides consist of long chains of sugar molecules. It therefore takes longer for the body to process them.

Short chain carbohydrates explained

These are also called monosaccharides, simple or double sugars. They are mainly found in sweets and fruit. Because they consist of only one or a few sugar molecules, the body can process them more quickly.

Benefits of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important and valuable energy suppliers for the human body. Carbohydrates are also the most important source of energy for our brain and red blood cells. If the body cannot fall back on this energy from carbohydrates, it must get this energy from the muscles. This means that the muscles are broken down to produce energy. Besides fats and proteins, carbohydrates are therefore one of the three most important macronutrients in our diet. The great advantage of carbohydrates is that they supply our body with important energy.

List of long and short chain carbohydrates

Below you will find a list of examples of long and short chain carbohydrates.

Long chain carbohydrates

  • Rice
  • Wholemeal noodles
  • Bread
  • Wholemeal cereals
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Oat flakes
  • Pulses like lentils
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Short chain carbohydrates

  • Many fruits and vegetables
  • Juices
  • Sweet drinks
  • Glucose
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Sweets
  • Syrup
  • Caramel
  • Yoghurt
  • Energy bars

By the way, animal foods such as fish or meat are not very rich in carbohydrates. They mainly contain fat or proteins.

Which carbohydrates should I take in?

For a healthy diet, long chain carbohydrates should be on the menu above all. As these consist of several building blocks, they are more complex to digest than the short chain alternative. The body remains saturated for longer. In addition, more energy is burnt during digestion.

Short chain carbohydrates are digested faster because fewer chain links have to be broken down. Therefore the blood sugar level rises faster. However, one remains satiated only for a short time, and hunger quickly returns. For this reason one is tempted to eat more and more often. The consequence is that one gains weight quickly.

You should therefore try to distinguish good and bad carbohydrates as best you can. But be careful! Not all long chain carbohydrates are automatically healthy. They can also make you gain weight if you eat them in too large quantities. At the same time, there are also foods with short chain carbohydrates that can still be eaten in moderation. This includes fruits, for example. The valuable vitamins they contain are also important for our body.

Whether you lose or gain weight is therefore not directly determined by the type of carbohydrates, but by how many calories you consume per day. However, oligosaccharides can help to keep the number of calories low, as a greater feeling of satiety sets in. Overall, it can be said that you should prefer long chain carbohydrates such as potatoes, legumes or wholemeal products to short chain carbohydrates such as sugared foods.

Tip: If you want to find out the effect of a carbohydrate-containing food on blood sugar levels, you can search for it using the glycemic index (GI). The calculated value tells you how your blood sugar level rises when you eat the food.

When is it best to eat carbohydrates?

You should consume carbohydrates, especially in the morning. The body will be supplied with energy right at the beginning of the day and you can start the day full of energy. Because physical activity is often highest in the morning. A healthy breakfast consisting of porridge in the morning is therefore ideal and provides the perfect basis for the day.

With a breakfast from Verival you support your body with important long chain carbohydrates and other vitamins and nutrients. This guarantees you an optimal start to the day. Let us inspire you on our site. We have a large selection of oat meals such as porridge and muesli varieties to offer. Also vegan or gluten-free breakfast. So you can eat healthy food with ease and you will be supported in losing weight.

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