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Understanding Carbohydrates

Monitoring Carbohydrate Intake

The most dangerous carbohydrate is the food additive, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Toxic to the body, it destroys metabolism, working against everything well-balanced nutrition attempts to accomplish. Unfortunately, it is everywhere. Born of the food industry’s desire to generate a cheap sweetener, HFCS takes this country’s overabundance of corn and turns it into a sugary flavoring agent. What makes it so toxic to the metabolism is that the body seems to work even less to absorb HFCS than it does for plain sugar. The body goes into storage mode immediately, and expends minimal energy in doing so. It may also fail to turn off hunger in the body, allowing more consumption and increased insulin response. For overall health and nutrition, and certainly weight loss, check food labels and eliminate HFCS from the diet.  Consider this detrimental ingredient in relation to the American obesity epidemic. In the 1970’s, the average American consumed approximately 1.5 pounds of HFCS per year. Today, the average is 60 pounds per year.

In a well-balanced nutrition plan, all grains should be whole and organic. Organic cereals and breads use natural sugar, or variations of sugar (for example, cane juice) as a sweetener. These products can be a little more expensive with the use of whole grains, and the absence of the very inexpensive HFCS, but the increased expense will be offset by a decreased total intake. In addition, eating properly will stimulate less hunger. The financial savings of minimizing the risk of, and controlling existing, cases of chronic disease certainly justify the expense.

Carb Crash Course:

  1. Primarily consume carbohydrates in the form of fresh vegetables and fruits.
  2. Decrease overall grain intake.
  3. Avoid high fructose corn syrup.
  4. Eat only organic whole grain cereals, breads and snacks.

What kind of bread should I eat?If you look at the ingredients of nearly all grocery store breads, they contain high fructose corn syrup. Organic breads do not. For people with diabetes, obesity and others sensitive to the calories from carbohydrates, all breads should be avoided, even organic. The best breads are sprouted grain varieties. These are usually found frozen in grocery stores and should be stored in the refrigerator at home.  Sprouted grains are truly whole grains, making the digestive system work for its glucose. Whole grain wraps or tortillas are a great bread substitute for sandwiches. They are lower in overall calories and are less filling.

What about artificial sweeteners?

For the long answer, see the article on Artificial Sweeteners. The short answer is that, despite having no calories, the body thinks these sweeteners are sugar and starts the insulin process, sending the body into storage mode. Alternatives are listed in the aforementioned article.