Carbohydrates: A Confusing Compound
A great deal of confusion exists about carbohydrates and the way they behave within the body. Do carbohydrates make us fat, and are they all bad? There is a lot that could be said on the subject but here are a few quick bites of information that will hopefully provide some clarity on some of the major issues regarding carbohydrates.
1. To put it plainly, carbohydrates are sugars. They are highly bio-available, providing immediate energy to fuel bodily processes, both physical and mental. But some carbohydrates are better than others.
2. Complex carbohydrates, such as those contained in unprocessed fruits and vegetables, contain fiber, which regulates the release of sugar into the bloodstream, protecting blood vessels and staving off hunger.
3. Simple and refined carbohydrates contain no fiber and, once consumed, are dumped into the bloodstream in one go. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels, triggering the release of insulin, which causes the body to store sugar as fat.
4. Excess carbohydrates from food are converted to saturated fat which is stored in fat cells in adipose tissue (body fat). But this really only applies to refined carbohydrates, which have been stripped of their fiber, since unrefined carbohydrates tend to be converted to sugar in amounts that do not trigger the insulin response and can be readily utilized for energy in the body.
5. Fruit juice is a form of carbohydrate. Most fruit juice contains no fiber and acts exactly like sugar in the body, causing a spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash. Fruit juice, apart from organic, contains high levels of pesticide residues and is pasteurized, depleting nutrients, such as vitamin-c, making it just another soft drink. Far better to eat the fruit since most of its nutrients are located in the flesh.
6. Some of the unwanted effects of refined carbohydrates can be offset by introducing cinnamon into the diet. Cinnamon helps to lower blood sugar levels, thus preventing the release of insulin which would otherwise cause the sugar to be stored as body fat.
7. Calories that are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, such as sugars and refined carbohydrates, cause us to overeat. These sugars cause hunger by dumping energy into the bloodstream in an uncontrolled fashion. This energy is quickly delivered to the cells, or stored as either glycogen or fat. The body then requires more energy to fuel its metabolic processes, which we perceive as hunger.
8. Once sugar has been consumed, any that has not been transported to the cells, or converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles, is converted to fat within about 40 minutes after its ingestion.
9. Carbohydrates have a powerful effect on behavior and psychology. The consumption of simple or refined carbohydrates leads, at first, to a peak in energy, accompanied by restlessness, loss of concentration, impatience, and the compulsion to act, or act out. These symptoms are followed by a crash in energy, accompanied by lethargy, sluggish thought processes, irritability and mood swings.
10. Humans can survive without consuming any carbohydrates at all. We can obtain all our energy from protein and fats. Any sugars required for brain function, can be synthesized from fats and ketones. Medium-chain fatty acids, such as coconut oil, are absorbed as easily as sugar, and can replace sugar in all metabolic processes.
Ending The Confusion Over Carbohydrates
In this excellent and entertaining YouTube video, Corrina Rachel of PsycheTruth, gives a comprehensive explanation of carbohydrates, sugars and their relationship to weight gain. Be prepared for a few surprises!