The Carb Calculator estimates the percentage of carbohydrates a person should consume each day. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient found in many common foods. Plant based foods such as grains and pulses (daals and legumes) are rich in carbohydrates. Carbohydrate in its simplest form is sugar or glucose while in its complex form it is found as starch.
What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three primary macronutrients, our body needs to get energy. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in our daily food intake. To provide energy to our body they are broken down or converted into glucose. They can also be stored as energy in the form of glycogen, or converted to fat (which can also be used as a source of energy).Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients found in food and drinks.
Carbohydrates have numerous health benefits and have an important role in our diets. These include providing energy, protecting against diseases and weight control. The body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel. Sugar and starches are broken down and converted into simple sugars during the digestion process and absorbed in the blood streams. Some of this is used as fuel for activity and excess is converted to fat. Natural fiber from whole grain, pulses, fruits and vegetables helps to keep your immune system working well and also protect you against many diseases like diabetes, digestive disorders, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity and cancer.
Types of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the primary macronutrient found in many common foods. Plant based foods such as grains and pulses (daals and legumes) are rich in carbohydrates. Most packed , frozen and processed food have carbohydrates in the form of sugar or starch. Fiber is another form carbohydrate which is indigestible.
There are two major types of carbohydrates in foods: simple carbohydrates ( sugars, fruits) and complex carbohydrates ( starches and fibers)
Sugars are the simplest form of carbohydrates and can be found naturally in fruits, dairy, and vegetables; they can also be found in processed form in candy, cookies, cakes, and many beverages.
Complex carbohydrates also called starches can be found naturally in many types of grains, breads, crackers, pasta, rice, beans and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates take a little longer to break down, which makes them a more lasting source of energy. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains give you energy over a longer period of time and you feel satisfied. They are also rich in fiber and essential for your digestive system to work well.
Refined flour like white flour and white rice are processes, which removes nutrients and fiber but unrefined grain (whole grains) like jowar, bajra,ragi still contains nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
All of these foods contain starches:
- Grains like wheat, maida, rice, oats and barley.
- Few more starchy products such as pasta, noodles, bread, rolls, crackers, cookies, pastries and other baked goods
- Starchy Vegetables Regular and sweet potatoes, corn, fresh peas
- Legumes Dried beans and peas
How do you calculate carbs?
There are two methods to calculate total carbohydrates in the food. You can use a carbohydrate calculator to count your calories.
Glycemic index is another tool to count calories in the food. It classifies carbohydrates containing foods as per their potential to raise blood sugar level in the body.Whole grains, pulses, legumes, vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy products, nuts and seeds comes in low glycemic index category as they raise blood sugar slowly.
Rice, wheat flour, other refined grains, potato and corn relatively have a high glycemic index. They are also not recommended in weight loss diet or may be allowed in moderate amounts. You can take these high glycemic foods in combination with low glycemic food and fiber.
How many grams is one carb?
One serving of carbohydrate is measured as 15 grams. A food that contains 15 grams of carbohydrate is called “one carb serving”.
For example, one slice of bread, a small piece of fruit, or medium size of cookie each has around 15 grams of carb. Each of these equals one carb serving.
How Many Carbs Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?
How many carbs a person consumes varies and depends on different factors. Besides quality, the amount of carbohydrates too is important. According to recommendations, carbohydrates make up 45 to 60 percent of the total daily calories. People who want to lose weight may want to aim for the lower end of that range. Everyone needs carbohydrates to meet their body’s requirement of energy and other nutrients. Carbohydrates provide about 4 calories per gram. So if you want to lose weight then take the lowest calories from carbs. You can calculate your calories intake from carbs by multiplying it with 4.
For example, if you want to eat 1,800 total calories per day and get 45 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, you would aim for about 200 grams of carbohydrate daily.
What are GOOD CARBS AND BAD CARBS?
Not all carbohydrates are equal. Certain sources of carbohydrates are high in nutrients and fiber like whole grains, fruits, vegetables. Fiber is necessary for digestion and regular bowel movements. But white bread, white rice and other processed carbohydrates are fewer nutrients. There are few characteristics of carbohydrates
Good carbs (whole grains)
- Contain moderate calories and more nutrients.
- Good carbs have a low glycemic index so it gives you satiety for a longer time.
- Rich in fiber so it helps your digestive system work well
- Do not contained add or refined sugar
- Low in sodium
- Contain less or no trans fats and saturated fats
Bad carbs, as name suggest are the opposite of good carbs
- very high glycemic index and high in calories.
- very low in nutrients
- are high in refined grains
- are full of added sugars.
- are low in fiber
- are high in sodium and may contain high levels of saturated fat
- may be high in cholesterol and trans fats
What are LOW-CARB DIETS?
A low-carb diet means you eat lesser carbohydrates and a higher portion of protein, fats, vegetables and fruits. Carbohydrates, primarily found in sugar and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes. Instead, you eat whole foods including natural proteins, fats and vegetables. In a low carb diet you just need to minimize your intake of sugar and starches all fat are ok to satisfy your hunger and requirement.
Many studies have proved that avoiding refined flour, sugar and starching can help you stabilize your blood sugar. While reducing sugar intake the levels of insulin in body drop and helps increase fat burning to make you feel more satisfied. Thereby it promotes weight loss too. Many studies suggest that low glycemic carbohydrates help you lose weight and keep you feeling full longer.
There are few examples of Low GI Foods
- Multigrain flour, millets( jowar, bajra, ragi), quinoa, oats, barley, amaranth.
- Daals, legumes and beans
- Vegetables and green leafy vegetables
- Seasonal fruits
- Low fat dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
Be carb wise as not all carbohydrates are equal, what matters is how one chooses them. You should choose carbohydrates wisely. Go for whole grains like jowar, bajra, ragi, many other millet brown rice, legumes, daals, fruits, vegetables, nuts, ground nuts, dried fruits and seeds. Avoid processed foods, refined flours, fruit juices, added sugars like sweetened drinks, bakery products and desserts.