Truth About Carbs

Not all carbohydrates are bad mater of fact they are your primary source of

energy. You can think of carbohydrates

like the gasoline you put in your car; they

provide energy to move.

Carbohydrates are found in many foods.

You may think of these foods as

“starches, sugars, or fibers.” Examples

include:

• Bread

• Pasta

• Cakes

• Grains

But many other foods contain carbohydrates, including:

• Fruits

• Vegetables

• Dairy

Chemically, carbohydrates are combinations of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen

(O). The basic formula is: CnH2nOn.

All carbohydrates are made up of one or more molecules of simple sugars.

Carbohydrates are classified by structure as follows:

Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides are one-molecule sugars. Those commonly found in food are:

• Glucose (dextrose or blood sugar)

• Fructose (levulose or fruit sugar

• Galactose (occurs mainly in milk)

Disaccharides

Disaccharides are two monosaccharides linked together. Those common to food

always contain at least one glucose molecule:

• Sucrose (table sugar) = glucose + fructose

• Lactose (milk sugar) = glucose + galactose

• Maltose (malt sugar) = glucose + glucose

Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates) are made up of simple sugars

(monosaccharides) or their derivatives linked together in different ways. Those found

in food include:

• Starch, which is made up of several hundred glucose units linked together.

• Dietary fiber, which consists of glucose, galactose, or other monosaccharides

linked together in such a way that the long chains are indigestible.

Foods High in Complex Carbohydrates

Remember, complex carbohydrates are a complex chain of sugar units that the body

breaks down slowly to provide energy.

Complex carbohydrates are a vital part of a healthy diet, because they are assimilated

more slowly, have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar levels, are less processed, and

include a variety of other nutrients.

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates tend to also contain fiber, protein, fat, vitamins,

minerals, and other nutrients. Examples are whole grains (such as wheat, rice, corn,

oats, barley, buckwheat, and millet), carbohydrate-rich vegetables (such as potatoes,

corn, and peas), and legumes.

Key points to remember:

• The nutritional content of the grain will depend largely on the health of the soil

and the conditions under which it is grown (this is true of all foods).

• Whenever possible, buy organically grown foods.

Eat whole grains as much as possible. Milling removes a major part of the

nutrients, particularly the B vitamins and vitamin E.

• Leave the skin on vegetables, such as potatoes, as most of the nutrients are just

under the skin.

• Refined simple sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides) should be avoided

as much as possible in the diet (such as table sugar, glucose, and processed

foods containing sugar, like cakes, cookies, and sweets).

• Refined complex carbohydrates should also be avoided (such as potato chips,

white bread, and white pasta).

• Select unrefined carbohydrates as often as possible and focus on complex

carbohydrates. For sweets, select fresh fruit (organic if possible) and limited

dairy (without sugar added).

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

For most people, between 40-60% of total calories should come from carbohydrates,

preferably from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars.

Complex carbohydrates provide calories, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Foods that are high in processed, refined simple sugars provide calories, but they have

few nutritional benefits. It is wise to limit such sugars.

To increase complex carbohydrates and healthy nutrients:

• Eat more fruits and vegetables.

• Eat more whole grains, rice, breads, and cereals.

• Eat more legumes (beans, lentils, and dried peas).

• Limit dairy: One cup of skim or low-fat milk.

The Hypoglycemic Effect

What happens if we eat many simple sugars or refined carbohydrates?

• Absorption of simple carbohydrates (most usually sugar) is immediate.

• Blood glucose levels rise quickly, causing the pancreas to release insulin.

High-sugar foods, such as a cake, cookies, and candy, can all contribute to the

hypoglycemic effect:

• This gives a sudden burst of energy that is usually short-lived.

• Insulin then causes the glucose to move out of the blood and into cells, causing

lower than normal blood glucose levels.

• This leads to a feeling of letdown with a craving for another dose of sugar.

• A cycle of sugar craving is perpetuated.

Sugar and other processed carbohydrates (such as white flour) contain no other

nutrients and may mask the real need of the body for nourishment. The “seesaw”

reaction that takes place when simple sugar is eaten is called the hypoglycemic

effect. Over time, this strains the adrenal glands and weakens the body’s resistance to

infection.

If the diet is high in simple sugars it causes a lack of control of blood sugar levels. The

constant release of insulin can cause the cells of the body to begin to ignore it, known

as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked with high blood sugar levels, high

cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and hypertension. It is also called metabolic

syndrome or syndrome X. Insulin resistance greatly increases your risk of

developing type II diabetes.

Hypoglycemia may contribute to the exacerbation of many diseases, such as: Arthritis,

asthma, digestive and weight problems, distended veins, hay fever, headaches

(especially migraines), hyperactivity, lack of energy, low blood pressure, poor

circulation, schizophrenia, skin problems, and even frequent colds. If these symptoms

apply to you, consider following a hypoglycemic diet.

Remember when eating carbohydrates, always choose complex organic is possible carbs. Complex carbohydrates will keep you fuller longer and your blood sugars balanced. Not all carbohydrates are bad they are your primary source of

energy. You can think of carbohydrates

like the gasoline you put in your car; they

provide energy to move.

Carbohydrates are found in many foods.

You may think of these foods as

“starches, sugars, or fibers.” Examples

include:

• Bread

• Pasta

• Cakes

• Grains

But many other foods contain carbohydrates, including:

• Fruits

• Vegetables

• Dairy

Chemically, carbohydrates are combinations of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen

(O). The basic formula is: CnH2nOn.

All carbohydrates are made up of one or more molecules of simple sugars.

Carbohydrates are classified by structure as follows:

Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides are one-molecule sugars. Those commonly found in food are:

• Glucose (dextrose or blood sugar)

• Fructose (levulose or fruit sugar

• Galactose (occurs mainly in milk)

Disaccharides

Disaccharides are two monosaccharides linked together. Those common to food

always contain at least one glucose molecule:

• Sucrose (table sugar) = glucose + fructose

• Lactose (milk sugar) = glucose + galactose

• Maltose (malt sugar) = glucose + glucose

Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates) are made up of simple sugars

(monosaccharides) or their derivatives linked together in different ways. Those found

in food include:

• Starch, which is made up of several hundred glucose units linked together.

• Dietary fiber, which consists of glucose, galactose, or other monosaccharides

linked together in such a way that the long chains are indigestible.

Foods High in Complex Carbohydrates

Remember, complex carbohydrates are a complex chain of sugar units that the body

breaks down slowly to provide energy.

Complex carbohydrates are a vital part of a healthy diet, because they are assimilated

more slowly, have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar levels, are less processed, and

include a variety of other nutrients.

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates tend to also contain fiber, protein, fat, vitamins,

minerals, and other nutrients. Examples are whole grains (such as wheat, rice, corn,

oats, barley, buckwheat, and millet), carbohydrate-rich vegetables (such as potatoes,

corn, and peas), and legumes.

Key points to remember:

• The nutritional content of the grain will depend largely on the health of the soil

and the conditions under which it is grown (this is true of all foods).

• Whenever possible, buy organically grown foods.

Eat whole grains as much as possible. Milling removes a major part of the

nutrients, particularly the B vitamins and vitamin E.

• Leave the skin on vegetables, such as potatoes, as most of the nutrients are just

under the skin.

• Refined simple sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides) should be avoided

as much as possible in the diet (such as table sugar, glucose, and processed

foods containing sugar, like cakes, cookies, and sweets).

• Refined complex carbohydrates should also be avoided (such as potato chips,

white bread, and white pasta).

• Select unrefined carbohydrates as often as possible and focus on complex

carbohydrates. For sweets, select fresh fruit (organic if possible) and limited

dairy (without sugar added).

Recommended Daily Allowance13

For most people, between 40-60% of total calories should come from carbohydrates,

preferably from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars.

Complex carbohydrates provide calories, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Foods that are high in processed, refined simple sugars provide calories, but they have

few nutritional benefits. It is wise to limit such sugars.

To increase complex carbohydrates and healthy nutrients:

• Eat more fruits and vegetables.

• Eat more whole grains, rice, breads, and cereals.

• Eat more legumes (beans, lentils, and dried peas).

• Limit dairy: One cup of skim or low-fat milk.

The Hypoglycemic Effect

What happens if we eat many simple sugars or refined carbohydrates?

• Absorption of simple carbohydrates (most usually sugar) is immediate.

• Blood glucose levels rise quickly, causing the pancreas to release insulin.

High-sugar foods, such as a cake, cookies, and candy, can all contribute to the

hypoglycemic effect:

• This gives a sudden burst of energy that is usually short-lived.

• Insulin then causes the glucose to move out of the blood and into cells, causing

lower than normal blood glucose levels.

• This leads to a feeling of letdown with a craving for another dose of sugar.

• A cycle of sugar craving is perpetuated.

Sugar and other processed carbohydrates (such as white flour) contain no other

nutrients and may mask the real need of the body for nourishment. The “seesaw”

reaction that takes place when simple sugar is eaten is called the hypoglycemic

effect. Over time, this strains the adrenal glands and weakens the body’s resistance to

infection.

If the diet is high in simple sugars it causes a lack of control of blood sugar levels. The

constant release of insulin can cause the cells of the body to begin to ignore it, known

as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked with high blood sugar levels, high

cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and hypertension. It is also called metabolic

syndrome or syndrome X. Insulin resistance greatly increases your risk of

developing type II diabetes.

Hypoglycemia may contribute to the exacerbation of many diseases, such as: Arthritis,

asthma, digestive and weight problems, distended veins, hay fever, headaches

(especially migraines), hyperactivity, lack of energy, low blood pressure, poor

circulation, schizophrenia, skin problems, and even frequent colds. If these symptoms

apply to you, consider following a hypoglycemic diet.

Remember when eating carbohydrates, always choose complex organic is possible carbs. Complex carbohydrates will keep you fuller longer and your blood sugars balanced.

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