Hold the Simple Starch!
Speedy DigestionREAD MORE
The main function of carbohydrates is to provide fast energy. You may hear people differentiate between simple and complex carbohydrates. The distinction is based on each food's chemical structure and how quickly it is digested and absorbed. Some examples of simple carbs: fruits, dairy products and table sugar, which contain fructose, lactose or galactose, maltose, and sucrose. They have a high glycemic index, which refers to the amount and speed at which they raise the blood glucose levels. Complex carbs include legumes, certain vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals. These kinds of foods have a lower glycemic index. LESS
Where Are the Nutrients?Whole grains supply the body with more than quick fuel: vitamins (especially B vitamins and vitamin E), fiber, iron and other minerals. When you strip away the hard outer layer of a grain, you remove many of its key dietary benefits. Your body has to work a little harder to break down whole-grain carbohydrates. READ MORE
The fiber in whole-grain foods puts the brakes on digestion. Because whole grains are broken down more slowly, their nutrients are more fully absorbed. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and keep things moving along the digestive tract. The multilayered bran, which protects each kernel of a grain, is the fiber source in whole-grain foods. Whole grains have more vitamins, iron and healthy plant oils, as well, which are all derived from the germ. Evidence from various studies credits whole grains with lowering LDL cholesterol levels, insulin and triglycerides—the form in which fat is stored in the body. Those effects have been associated with lower risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. LESS
How to Break the CycleREAD MORE
Cutting back on stripped-down, simple starch is a no-risk move for anyone who wishes to improve their health. Refined sugar and flour do not have distinct nutritional benefits. However, the wisdom of cutting out all grains, even if only temporarily, is a matter of debate among nutrition researchers. Some maintain that for obese individuals, the elimination of all grains, dairy and fruit from the diet is a smart way to prevent the elevation of blood glucose levels that prompts the secretion of insulin and sets into motion the processes that cause us to store too much fat. Gary Taubes, a nutrition reporter and researcher, author of Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It says obese people should cut out nearly all carbs. “Not all of us get fat when we eat carbohydrates,” writes Taubes. “But for those of us who do get fat, the carbohydrates are to blame; the fewer carbohydrates we eat, the leaner we will be.” Taubes advocates a diet high in protein and fat to keep blood sugar low and satiety high.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Dean Ornish, M.D whose research involves comprehensive lifestyle changes aimed at reversing heart disease, cutting cancer risk, and other health improvements. In addition to meditation, exercise, stress reduction techniques and counseling, he advocates an extremely low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and plenty of whole grains. “The answer is not to replace refined carbohydrates with animal protein such as beef, pork rinds, bacon and sausage,” Ornish writes. “It's much more healthful to replace refined carbohydrates ('bad carbs') with healthy carbs instead.” Even though Ornish's approach is diametrically opposed to the low-carb approach recommended by the late Richard Atkins, the popular South Beach Diet and Gary Taubes, Ornish's program also recommends cutting out refined sugar and flour. LESS