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The controversy surrounding carbohydrates 

This is taken from Dr. Ruby’s recent article:

There is very clear evidence that simple/processed carbohydrates are linked to our current diabesity epidemic.  The more we focus on reducing “bad” carbs in our diet, the more controversial carbohydrates have become.  Over the next few blogs we will revisit carbohydrates, discuss the different types of carbohydrates and why many experts are recommending only plant based carbohydrates as there is growing evidence that gluten, grains and legumes also trigger an inflammatory response in our gut leading to system inflammation and potential autoimmunity.  Today I will review the basics of carbohydrates but will follow this blog with a more contraversial, yet eye opening view of carbohydrates which may change your view of the term “bad” carbs.

Primary function of  carbs

The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for our body. In particular, our brain, nervous system and skeletal muscles need carbs for optimal function. Carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive system by an enzyme called amylase. Amylase breaks carbs into glucose (sugar), which is then transported to the cells as an energy source.

“Good” carbs

Sources of healthy good carbs come from complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are also used as an energy source but, unlike simple carbs, they contain essential nutrients and fiber that our body needs for optimal functioning. Complex carbs, also referred to as starches, break down into sugars but are absorbed at a slower rate, in turn having lesser impact on blood glucose and insulin secretion.

Starches come from plant sources such as seeds, grains, legumes and tubers (potato family). Examples include bread, cereals, pasta, rice, corn, beans, popcorn, peas and potatoes. Fiber is an essential component of complex carbohydrates. Fiber is the non-digestible part of the plant that is important for the digestive process. Multiple studies have shown that Americans do not get enough daily fiber. Low fiber diets are associated with increased gastrointestinal disorders and a higher rate of colon cancer.

“Bad” carbs

Simple carbohydrates have been labeled the bad carbs because they quickly breakdown to sugar in the digestive system, giving an immediate rise in blood sugar, which in turn signals the pancreas to release insulin. Most simple carbs lack nutritive value and have been stripped of essential dietary. Milling grain (converting whole grain –> white flour) strips the grain of 26 essential nutrients and fiber. Sugar is found in fruit, fruit juice, honey, soft drinks, other sweets and milk. Below is a list of common dietary sugars;

Sucrose: Found in many fruits and vegetables – commonly known as table sugar, cane or beet sugar.
Fructose: Primarily from fruits.
Glucose: Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (blood sugar) during the digestive process.
Maltose: Found in grains – known as malt sugar.
Lactose: The main carbohydrate found in milk – yes, milk is also a source of dietary sugar and can impact your blood sugar and insulin secretion.

Is fruit bad for us? 

To read the rest of this excellent article go to: http://drlauraruby.com/essential-nutrition/the-carbohydrate-debate-goes-on/

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