Good Carbohydrates

Some people increase their risk for heart attacks, cancers and other diseases by markedly restricting all carbohydrates because they think that all carbohydrates are harmful. Restricting good carbohydrates deprives a person of necessary nutrients which increases their susceptibility to disease.

Bad carbohydrates are ones that cause an immediate high rise in blood sugar levels. Good carbohydrates do not do this. A recent report explains the difference (Current Atherosclerosis Reports, November 2005). Good carbohydrates are the ones found in nature and usually do not cause a high rise in blood sugar levels. Bad carbohydrates are usually created by refining grains or other plants into “pure” starches or sugars (i.e., flour, white rice, cornmeal, table sugar and all other extracted sugars.) These refined carbohydrates pass immediately from the stomach into the intestines and cause a high rise in blood sugar.

Whole grains have a thick fiber coating that releases starches and sugars very slowly so blood sugar levels do not rise too high. However, grinding a whole grain to form flour destroys the seed coat and allows the blood sugar rapidly to enter the intestines where it is absorbed almost immediately to cause a high rise in blood sugar.

When you eat an orange, the solid particles go into your stomach, where the pyloric sphincter closes and prevents all solid particles from entering the intestines until they are broken down into a soup that is then allowed to pass. However, liquid orange juice passes directly into the intestine where it is absorbed immediately.

If you are trying to lose weight or are diabetic, it is perfectly healthful to eat a wide variety of the good carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. The carbohydrates to avoid are foods made with flour, milled corn or white rice; fruit juices, sugared soft drinks or other beverages with sugar; and processed foods that contain added sugars.

Article Source: Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at Free weekly newsletter on fitness, health, and nutrition.