Tuesday, August 20, 2013


picture from https://m.ufhealth.org/carbohydrates
What is a carbohydrate? Carbohydrates are made by all plants. These carbohydrates are broken down into Sugars and starches. Sugar comes in a variety of forms, the basis of these forms are glucose, and fructose which are what is known as simple sugars. Disaccharides, which include sucrose, Malt sugar, and lactose, are made from 2 sugars and are broken down in the body fairly easily. The exception being lactose which many people can have problems digesting if the proper enzymes to digest it are lacking. (more on lactose in the dairy post) However more complex sugars such as stachynose and raffinose which are found in legumes (beans) and seaweed are not easily digested by most people. Most people lack the necessary intestinal flora to break down these sugars that are made up of several simple sugars. Cooking and/or fermenting them helps to break them down so that the body is able to use the nutrients better. Click HERE for a great little article on how to prepare beans to be easy to digest.

Starch is a complex sugar, but one that is digestible by the body because it is only made up of glucose. Glucose Is the sugar that your body runs off of. When you ingest glucose it is taken through the small intestine to wherever the body needs it. If their is excess sugar then insulin levels rise to compensate and excess sugar is stored in the liver. Eating fat and protein with the sugar makes the sugar take longer to digest so that you wont have a spike in blood sugar or a huge rise in insulin levels. Instead the glucose is slowly released into the body keeping everything more balanced that it would have bean without the fat and/or protein. 

Refined carbohydrates such as white sugar and flour are striped of all their lovely nutrients making them white, last a very long time, and terrible for you. In their unrefined state starches have vitamins that are very important to being able to actually digest starch properly. Refined carbohydrates however actually take minerals and vitamins away from your body to be able to digest themselves. Instead of providing your body with nutrients, refined carbohydrates are more of an anti-nutrient. As well as being removed of their vitamins and minerals, refined carbohydrates are also stripped of fat and fiber that help to slow their digestion to give the body more time to adjust for the added sugar. 

Refined carbohydrates have bean linked to many, many health problems. HERE is a big long list of them. In 1821 Americans ate 10 pounds of sugar per person a year. Now it is more like 170 pounds per person making up 1/4 of their caloric intake. Nutritionist say that we should only be getting 10% of our calories from sugar. In my opinion, this is crazy! Especially when you consider that tumors feed on sugar. Cancer is positively shown to be associated with cancer in humans and test animals! Not only that but it causes fungus growth in the body, diabetes and hypertension which leads to a host of other problems, heart disease (their have bean more studies that show refined sugars causing heart disease rather than fat), kidney disease, and liver disease. So I ask, Why? This is totally ridiculous that as a society we are doing this to ourselves. Dr. Melvin Page demonstrated in many studies that sugar consumption causes phosphorus levels to drop and calcium to rise. The calcium rises because it is being pulled from the teeth and bones by the sugar creating an imbalance that causes the excess calcium to not be absorbed because their isn't enough phosphorus. He concluded with his studies that it isn't the bacterial growth that causes tooth decay but actually the loss of calcium. 

It is important to sprout and/or ferment your grains so that the enzyme inhibitors can be neutralized. Whole grains are very nutritious and have lots of good vitamins and trace minerals that can be utilized by the body as long as they are prepared correctly. I really like sour dough bread, and if you make it yourself with a starter from your area it will be so good for you and so tasty. The first four links below are for books, the first being nourishing traditions which is a super awesome cookbook that can really help you out, especially if your new fermenting, sprouting, and eating how we used to before the 1900's. The second one has really easy and simple to follow recipes for most every fermented food, such as bread, sauerkraut, and ginger ale, and the third is a food preservation book that goes along with the first two. The fourth is just a health book. 

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