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The Burden of Carbohydrates in Health and Disease
Nutrients. 2022, V. 14, n. 18, 3809
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Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, since they provide the body with glucose to support bodily functions and physical activity. However, the abusive consumption of refined, simple, and low-quality carbohydrates has a direct implication on the physical and mental pathophysiology. Then, carbohydrate consumption is postulated as a crucial factor in the development of the main Western diseases of the 21st century. We conducted this narrative critical review using MedLine (Pubmed), Cochrane (Wiley), Embase, and CinAhl databases with the MeSH-compliant keywords: carbohydrates and evolution, development, phylogenetic, GUT, microbiota, stress, metabolic health, consumption behaviors, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, mental disease, anxiety, depression, cancer, chronic kidney failure, allergies, and asthma in order to analyze the impact of carbohydrates on health. Evidence suggests that carbohydrates, especially fiber, are beneficial for the well-being and growth of gut microorganisms and consequently for the host in this symbiotic relationship, producing microbial alterations a negative effect on mental health and different organic systems. In addition, evidence suggests a negative impact of simple carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates on mood categories, including alertness and tiredness, reinforcing a vicious circle. Regarding physical health, sugar intake can affect the development and prognosis of metabolic disease, as an uncontrolled intake of refined carbohydrates puts individuals at risk of developing metabolic syndrome and subsequently developing metabolic disease.
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