Carbohydrates for health
Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates may make up 45-65% of the daily calorie requirement. In the digestion process, starch and other complex carbohydrates must be broken down into simple sugars before they can meet the body’s needs for energy.
Dietitians recommend obese individuals move to a low-carbohydrate diet. In a low-carb environment, the body’s physiological process is met by breaking down fat molecules into sugar, and in that process, ketones are released. Ketones molecules are an alternate fuel source.
Continuing such a diet over an extended period can lead to a rise in the level of ketone molecules in the blood (a condition known as Ketosis). This short term can cause headaches, weakness, nausea, dehydration, dizziness, and irritability.
Carbohydrates help boost our mood (Christensen 1993). The impact of a complete withdrawal of dietary carbohydrates in the diet has been studied. Dieter volunteers with a low carbohydrate diet were observed to perform worse on memory-based tasks than the American Dietary Association (ADA) dieters. The impairments were temporary and got ameliorated with the reintroduction of carbohydrates.
However, low-carbohydrate dieters were also reported to show less confusion and responded faster during attention vigilance tasks when compared to ADA dieters. This establishes a link between carbohydrate consumption and cognitive behavior (D’Anci et al., 2009).
Volunteers wD’Ancisumed breakfast cereal (a source of carbohydrates) showed a more positive mood at the start of test sessions. They also performed better on a spatial memory task and felt calmer at the end of the test session compared to volunteers who did not consume breakfast (Smith et al., 1999).
Mood, good or bad, is said to be caused by chemicals that influence neural response. Some foods have proved to be mood enhancers. Mood gets lifted when desired neurotransmitters are released in the brain. These were seen to be stress-relieving.
Bioactive compounds like peptides, probiotics, macronutrients like carbohydrates, amino acids, minerals, blood sugar levels, vitamin supplements, etc., have exhibited mood-enhancing properties. Foods like chocolate, ice cream, and cold and hot beverages are known to improve the mood. They are recommended for healthy individuals (Kate et al., 2017).