Plenty is being said about sugar and carbohydrates these days with diabetes, heart disease and obesity being the problem. We can easily get confused: is sugar bad or are carbohydrates bad?
UNDERSTANDING SUGAR AND CARBOHYDRATES.
· Body require carbohydrates because they are main source of energy
· 45%-65% of our calories should came from carbohydrates. (United States Department of Agriculture)
· Are more easily broken down by body for energy compared to protein and fats
· Important for maintaining smooth order of our heart, muscles, central nervous system and others.
· Why carbohydrates getting a bad reputation.
- Because we tend to consume in excess
- Because we fail to consider the types of carbohydrates we’re taking.
· Is a type of carbohydrate
· Can be further divided into
- Simple sugars
- Complex sugars:
Ø Include rice, pastas, potatoes and also grains
Ø Also known as starch
- Fructose is found in fruits
- Simple sugars:
o Sucrose is the table sugar
o Both fructose and sucrose are broken down by our bodies into glucose, our source of energy
- Complex sugar:
o Includes rice, pastas, potatoes, and also grains
o Also known as starch
- Starch usually doesn’t taste quite as sweet as simple sugars.
Ø That’s why we don’t really think of “sweet” when we’re eating rice or pastas.
- Our body break down complex sugar such as starch into glucose (just like they do with the simple sugars)
Both simple sugar and starches are broken down into glucose:
Why: i. some starches have a stellar reputation
ii. Some starches get a bad come
iii. Simple sugars are considered villains
Answer: depending on how fast the body breaks down these sugar and and get them into our bloodstream.
Glycaemic index (GI).
- An index used to measure how fast body breaks down the sugars.
- 2 types
- Low GI foods
- Foods slowly broken down by the body so that the sugar gets into our system gradually
- High GI foods
- The exact opposite.
- Simple sugars are usually high GI Foods.
- Are easily broken down by the body and quickly get into the blood stream.
- Causing spikes in the body’s blood sugar level.
- The body then respond to this spike by releasing a flood of insulin, which transports this glucose from the blood stream intro our cells where the glucose in converted into energy.
- Problem :
- When so much insulin is released; our body thinks we’ve got too much glucose and stores this as fat to be burned off later.
- Because there’s a lot of insulin in the blood stream, the glucose depletion happens pretty fast.
- Causing our blood sugar dropping drastically and suddenly
- When these happen, we feel lethargic and hungry.
Avoid simple sugars vs stick to complex sugars or starches
- Starches do not break down as easily as simple sugar. (Slow Digestible starch-SDS).
- Different types of starches do get digested faster than other (Rapidly digestible starch-RDS)
- Foods are typically a combination of both
- Rice = combination of amylose and amylopectin
- Smart move would be to stick to foods with a higher amylose-to-amylopectin ratio because these promote slower digestion and more gradual release of glucose into the blood stream.
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The story of sugar and starch.
Body, mind and soul
The Star, Tuesday,
02 February 2016