BODY FUEL: CARBOHYDRATES OR GLUCIDES
There are still many who believe that the best alimentation should be rich in proteins, namely meat. In fact, it is a conception that existed in antiquity. Before the tournaments start, greek athletes consumed large amounts of meat, being convinced that whosoever want to have muscles must eat meat, forgetting that animals with the large muscle mass as cattle, horses, giraffe, rhino and the elephant forms their hundreds of kilograms of muscle mass only by consuming grass, leaves, and if found, fruits and other vegetables.
Observations in recent decades have shown that populations that predominantly eat cereals glucides, vegetables, herbs and fruit have a special vitality. For example, Trahumara Indians from Mexico, whose diet is composed in proportion of 75-80% of carbohydrates, do not show degenerative diseases like hypertension pressure, hypercholesterolemia, obesity or diabetes. Their vitality is demonstrated by their traditional sport, raripuri in which participants runs between 150 and 300 km, leading at the same time, a wooden ball.
Nowadays, performance athletes, subjected to long efforts no longer believe in the myth of hyper-protein diet and consume especially fruits and grain products.
The energy reservoir of the human body is found especially in the muscles and in the liver as glycogen. Intens exercise decreases a lot the glycogen reservations from muscles, which are quickly remade by dietary intake of glucides. Today is recommended that athletes consume 550-650 g of carbohydrate daily, representing approximately 70-75% of total calories ingested.
The human body can be likened to a car. Once the car body was finished, to operate it only needs several parts to be renewed from time to time. But what will require in a regular basis, is the fuel quality. Glucides are the high-octane gasoline or diesel, which allows go through hundreds of thousands of kilometers smoothly. In fact, the main source of energy to mankind represents glucides which, depending on the geographical area, is 45-75% of total caloric intake.
Recent research indicates that abundant glucides intake improves protein synthesis and use, thereby decreasing the exogenously need intake.
Carbohydrates or glucides are solar power packages, used to maintain life on earth. They are formed by photosynthesis, a chemical process that occurs in some corpuscles that are found in the green part of the plants, especially the leaves, and are called chloroplasts. Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, water and carbon dioxide in the air join forces together to capture the solar energy. Resulting molecule is composed of six carbon atoms, a certain number of oxygen and hydrogen called glucose. The byproduct of this reaction is oxygen, used by the plant to breathe and the rest is released into the air, offering the oxygen needed of life.
Without plants human history and prehistory wouldn’t exist. They have sustained life over the millennia, providing glucides, carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fiber, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals substances, all absolutely necessary for human health. And the animals consumed by humans take their food from plants too. Does it need other arguments to prove the primary role of plants in the life maintaining?
The glucose name comes from the greek word glichis that means “sweet”. Most glucides contain hydrogen and oxygen in the water proportion, which shall be known as carbohydrates. But not all substances that contain hydrogen and oxygen in the water proportion are glucides, for example, acetic acid or lactic acid, which is why, already in 1927, the International Commission Reform of Chemical Nomenclature recommended that, instead of “carbohydrates” to prefer the name “glucides”.
Except mammalian milk, which contains lactose, animal products are devoid of glucides. These are found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, potatoes and vegetables. Each of these vegetable plants provide a specific kind of glucides, so let’s learn something about their structure and assimilation, to be useful in our food.