Carbohydrates are starches (complex carbohydrates), sugars (simple carbohydrates), and fibers obtained from plants. Other than fiber, carbohydrates are broken down in the intestine and converted by the liver to glucose, the form of sugar used by the body’s cells for energy or other metabolic processes, or converted into glycogen or fat, forms that are stored in the body and serve as reserve sources of energy. Starches are composed of many glucose units linked together and are often metabolized more slowly than simple sugars, but not when they are highly refined.

Complex carbohydrates are less apt to over-stimulate a strong insulin response, and so are less likely to lead to obesity and diabetes. Carbohydrates are healthiest when consumed in whole, unprocessed forms, such as those in vegetables, beans,
peas, and grains, such as brown rice, oats, wheat, and barley. Less healthy sources are found in processed foods, such as white bread, most pastas, white potatoes, and white rice.

Sugars come in many forms. The ingredients listed on food-product labels that end in “-ose,” such as glucose, sucrose, galactose, dextrose, lactose, fructose or maltose, are sugars. Sugars are healthful components of food when found naturally in milk, fruit, and vegetables. But sugar becomes unhealthy when added in large amounts to foods, most often in the form of sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. Common table sugar, or sucrose, is a disaccharide molecule—a combination of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose linked together. High fructose corn syrup has a similar composition to sucrose except that the ratio of fructose to glucose is increased with 55% to 65% fructose. As with other sugars, sucrose is digested into its two components.

Following blogs will explain the negative effects of added sugar and why we don’t need it in our diets.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in the book or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon). Copyright 2020 by J. Joseph Speidel.