If you've heard the hype about low carbohydrate diets, or if you've been told to follow one because of a medical condition, you may wonder what carbohydrates are and what the body does with them.
What Is A Carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates are the common organic compounds found in most living things. When eaten, they are important in the storage and transportation of energy in the body.
Sources of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are found in foods high in sugar or starch, such as fruits, sweeteners like sugar and honey, breads, grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
Carbohydrates as Fuel
In the digestive system, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. Carbohydrate consumption is necessary to create fuel for the muscles and for brain function.
After your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, your body may not immediately need the glucose for energy. In that case, your body converts glucose into glycogen and stores it in the liver and muscles.
Conversion to Fat
If you consume more carbohydrates or glucose than needed for your body's immediate needs, and if there is plenty of glycogen already in storage in the liver and muscles, the body will convert and store glucose as fat.