The Spectrum of Carbohydrates – from Whole Grain to White Bread

All nutrients are not created equal especially when it comes to
their effect on our health. So shifting our focus from
nutrients to foods can help us develop better eating habits that
will support our long term health.>>Getting our head around the idea that
we should be focused on the category of foods, mot nutrients,
is I think very important. And I think doctors should be
talking to patients about food. Even if as scientists and researchers
they see through foods to nutrients. It may be a helpful way to study foods. It’s not a helpful way to
communicate about food.>>Let’s look at an example of how
focusing on nutrients rather than food can leave us confused and potentially consuming a diet
that’s dangerous to our health. In recent years, a lot of attention
has been focused on the fact that many of us are eating
too many carbohydrates. There are lots of popular
diet trends that encourage us to drastically reduce
the carbohydrates in our diet, even to the point of limiting
our intake of fresh fruit. At the same time, some of these low-carb
diets seem to suggest that protein and fats can be eaten freely. But a diet that’s very high in animal
protein and contains no whole grain or not enough fruits and vegetables could leave
us with serious problems in the long run. In fact, the category carbohydrates
includes a wide spectrum of foods. Some of which are really important for
our health. And some of which can compromise it. Whole grains like brown rice and
rolled oats are carbohydrates that provide our bodies with
a usable source of energy and bound together in that very same food
is a significant amount of fiber, which slows the release of glucose
from that food into the bloodstream. The glycemic index of
a food is the measure of the speed at which glucose is released
into the blood stream after it’s digested. A whole grain like brown rice or quinoa will result in a slower release of
glucose and a more muted insulin response. On the other hand, a food that’s high in
refined carbohydrates, like white bread or soda, will lead to a more rapid
release of glucose into the blood. And in response to this, the body
releases a large amount of insulin, the hormone in our bodies
that lowers blood sugar. Because of spike of glucose and insulin
lead to less stable blood sugar levels, eating foods that are refined,
especially highly processed carbohydrates, can result in an earlier return of
hunger and a tendency to overeat. The glycemic index of a food is lower when
the food contains fiber or when it’s eaten in combination with protein foods or
foods containing some dietary fat. For people who are struggling to manage
their weight, or their blood sugar levels, eating foods that have a low glycemic
index is especially important, but choosing low glycemic foods is
generally a good idea for all us. So when we talk about
dietary carbohydrates we’re actually talking about
a very broad family of foods. Some that can be harmful to our long term
health, and some that can support it. Learning how to choose the right foods
within each nutrient category is one of the keys to long term success. [MUSIC]

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