Food nutrition - (1) CARBOHYDRATES

grain, carbohydrates, starchy, cereal, edgeofsteel

January 31, 2018

Food nutrition -  CARBOHYDRATES


What is the meaning of chef to you? people who can cook? and people who works in a kitchen?

I believe it means more than that.

Personally, chef could be a nutritionist, an artist, a manager, an athletic, a doctor, a magician, a performer and a businessman.

In this post, I would like to focus on as the nutritionist side.

The food what we eat has huge impact on our health. It can make us healthy or sick. A balanced diet help us our body function properly, boosts immune system. On the other hand, poor meals can not provide proper nutrition, can not recover the damaged cells and tissues and it leads to being weak and sick. Without the vital nutrients cellular health and therefore general health is adversely affected because cells that function inefficiently result in low energy levels, premature aging, and disease.

Our body need certain amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Thus, as a chef, when we cook or make a menu, we have to consider the balance of nutrients, not just taste.

I'm gonna divide in 5 topics and today, I will talk about carbohydrates.

Basically, there are two types of carbohydrates. Sugar and starches. Formerly known as simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Then, what does carbohydrates do in our body?

First, carbohydrates provide us energy.

1 gram of carbohydrate supplies 3.5 calories.  Nutritionists recommend 40 to 50 percent of the daily calorie intake should come from unrefined carbohydrates. Which are whole grains, legumes, seeds, and fruits. Unrefined carbohydrates contain high fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. However, refined carbohydrates such as flours, white rice, sugary products, they lost these nutrients during the refine process.

Secondly, carbohydrates maintain sugar blood level.

Normal range is 70~110mg / 100ml. After meal, the level goes up and insulin is released from pancreas in order to deliver the glucose(degraded from carbohydrates) to cells. It is stored in the liver and muscles as a 420g of glycogen, and rest of it converts to fat and it is stored in the subcutaneous fat as a triglyceride form and it increases our body fat.

In addition, if the blood sugar level falls below 40 ~ 50mg / 100ml, it is hypoglycemia state, results in anxiety, irritability, hunger, headache. It can be recovered by supplying 10 ~ 15g of carbohydrates.

Starchy foods are much better than sugary ones as the carbohydrates. Especially starchy foods include high-fiber are digested at a slower rate. As a result, the blood sugar level in the body doesn’t rise as quickly, while low-fiber carbohydrates are digested more quickly and consequently raise blood sugar rapidly. It leads increasing level of insulin, the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Overtime, this can result in diabetes.

Thirdly, protein sparing action.

If the carbohydrates intake is insufficient, gluconeogenesis reaction that synthesizes glucose from protein occurs, and muscle proteins are decreased.

In severe cases, muscle tissues such as muscle, heart, liver, and kidney are seriously decreased, and the kidneys get damaged from the excretion of byproducts such as nitrogen during the protein degradation process.

Fourthly, prevent ketosis.

When carbohydrates intake is insufficient and glycogen storage is depleted, lipid metabolism is increased and a many amount of free fatty acids are produced. At this time, the incomplete combustion forms ketone bodies, which causes the body fluid to become acidified and odors in breath and urine, loss of appetite, fatigue, and difficulty in breathing. To prevent this, at least 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrate should be consumed per day.


Lastly, it fuels the central nervous system.

The brain and nervous system use glucose as an energy source. However, there is no space to storage glucose in the brain, so when the blood sugar is decreased, the glucose for the brain is insufficient, therefore feel unconcentrated, sleepy, distracted and in severe cases, it causes cramps.

Today, we have looked about carbohydrates. And as you can see with only this content, chef has responsibility and duty of customer’s health. We, as chef have to consider about nutrition not just taste or plating. And I hope you all do the good food, the healthier food.

Next posting will be about proteins.


Jamie Yang.