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Sugars & Complex Carbohydrates in Our Diet: Quell the Misconceptions & confusions Regarding Them.

Updated on April 11, 2014

Confusions Regarding Sugar Contents

Which is worse for you, a doughnut or a fruit roll-up? Which is a better breakfast, a Snicker’s bar or a bowl of unsweetened cornflakes? Which is more likely to spike your blood sugar, a coca-cola or bagel? Which has more sugar in it, jellybeans or white bread? The sugar content of a piece of fruit is virtually identical to that of high fructose corn syrup, so is fruit bad for you? Or is high fructose corn syrup good for you? What’s the freaking difference?

Confusion Builds up

Doughnuts actually aren’t going to spike your blood sugar as badly as fruit roll-ups, which parents often give very lovingly to their kids. Believe it or not I would actually choose a Snickers bar as a better breakfast item than a bowl of cornflakes. I know you’re thinking, how can a candy be better than a bowl of cereal for me to eat for breakfast? .....Do You believe that a bagel is more likely to spike your blood sugar than coca-cola? And surprisingly ounce for an ounce white bread contains more sugar then jelly beans. In this article I'm going to explain why?

Types of Simple Sugars

There’s lot of misconceptions about carbohydrates & AKA sugars, lets lay it all out!

So we've got four basic sugars; glucose, lactose, fructose and sucrose, these are called the simple carbohydrates.

  1. The first type of sugar is glucose, and it is the main sugar that the cells in our body use for energy, it is found naturally in fruits and vegetables.
  2. The next sugar is lactose, and that's the sugar that you find in milk products.
  3. Fructose is sugar from fruits and like glucose it's naturally found in fruits and vegetables.
  4. Sucrose which is just table sugar is a double molecule, containing one molecule fructose and one molecule of glucose. Sucrose are generally created by processing and refining sugar cane or sugar beet.

Complex Sugar and its Sources

After simple sugars we have starch which is usually referred to as a complex carbohydrate. starch is the primary storage mechanism that plants used to store energy, so it’s the plant’s way of storing glucose, it's important to note that simple carbohydrate ‘the glucose’ strung together to create complex carbohydrate ‘starch’. The main starches are wheat, rice, corn and potatoes and any foods that are made from those. Bread, pasta, corn chips, cakes, cereals, doughnuts, etc., these starchy foods don't taste so sweet and so we don't think about them as being the same as sugar, but you don't want to make that mistake, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

Digestion Pathway of Each Sugar: Metabolic Pathways

It’s important to know that the body absorbs and utilizes each of the different types of sugars in a different way.

Glucose is the easiest sugar for your body to use. When you ingest something containing glucose it goes into your stomach and then your small intestine, where it is immediately absorbed into your blood stream. Your blood takes that glucose around to all the cells in your body so that it can be used for energy and any excess glucose can be then stored as fat. Your body can use glucose without doing any other chemical changes to it, Glucose is by far the fastest pathway; the fastest way for sugar to enter your blood and to give yourselves the energy that they need.

Fructose however cannot be used immediately by us, it must undergo chemical changes in the liver before it can be used. like glucose it's absorbed into the bloodstream when it enters the small intestine, but first it must be processed in the liver and then distributed to cells for energy. So fructose is a slower metabolic pathway than glucose,

When sucrose, our table sugar enters small intestine it's actually split into its two parts, one fructose & one glucose.The glucose goes in and immediately hit your bloodstream and can immediately be used, on the other-side the fructose is sent to your liver for processing.

Glucose and Fructose Naturally Occurs Together

All natural fruits and vegetables contain some glucose and some fructose. The ratio of fructose against glucose can vary from food to food, a grainy apple or banana has about a one to one ratio so it's half glucose and half fructose. The ratio rarely exceeds 2 to 1 where a pear is about two parts fructose to one part glucose, on contrary sweet corn is closer to two parts glucose to one part fructose. Furthermore fruits and vegetables high fructose corn syrup and table sugar all contain fructose and glucose, the only difference is the ratio of fructose to glucose, and the fact that in sucrose (table sugar) those two molecules are combined but in 'fruits & vegetables' and 'high fructose corn syrup' the fructose and glucose are already separated.

Breads can never be sugar free
Breads can never be sugar free

Digestion Pathway of Starch

what happens when we eat complex carbohydrates or starches? remember that as starch is just a string of 'glucose molecules' or 'simple sugars' all strung together, and when that food hits your small intestine those chains are immediately broken, and you have a huge load of glucose molecules that are going to immediately enter your blood stream. All this happens in a matter of seconds, so all the pathway may be a little bit longer we're still talking about a pretty quick absorption of sugar into your blood.

Another thing to recognize is that this is all glucose molecules, unlike things that contain a little bit of fructose which have to go to the liver all these glucose molecules are going to immediately flood your blood with sugar. This is why a piece of white bread or a bagel or a bowl of cornflakes is going to spike your blood sugar worse than jelly beans or soda.

Measuring Speed of Digestion

There's a scale called the Glycymic index and it's just a measurement how quickly certain foods are going to affect your blood sugar. Pure glucose is considered a 100 on the Glycemic index and fats and proteins are lowest on the scale because they take the longest to be metabolized. similarly peanuts which are mostly fat are only 15 on the Glycemic index

Table-Sugar is better Than Chips

you probably notice that the table sugar or sucrose is lower Glycemic then the white bread, potato chips, doughnut and corn flakes. This is because the starch is 100 percent glucose, all that glucose hits your blood almost immediately. Variously the table sugar is half fructose & half glucose so it takes a little bit longer on its metabolic pathway, because it has to split the fructose and glucose and then send that fructose to the liver for processing. its very important to note that starches do not contain fructose, they are 100per cent glucose and that means that the metabolic pathway is a lot faster and you're going to be a lot more likely to spike your blood sugar when you consume them.

If you're eating a lot of super starchy foods like popcorn corn chips potato chips french fries pasta white bread you need to realize that these are basically pure sugar and if you eat too much of them they're going to cause weight gain and spike up your blood sugar and they're not going to be healthful.

Natural Foods are Good Even if They are Sweet

You can also notice that fruits and vegetables are pretty low on the Glycemic index. most of the time but not always, natural foods are going to be lower Glycemic then refined or processed foods. this is why the fruit roll-up measure 99 because it is basically one hundred percent sugar, 100 percent corn starch, but the Apple and the orange contain both fructose and glucose which slows the metabolic path way, and they also contain a lot of fiber which also slows the amount of time it's going take that sugar to head your blood. the reason that the Snickers bar is lower Glycemic than orange is because it also contains fats from the peanuts and the milk in the milk chocolate.

Natural Vs. Refined
Natural Vs. Refined

Why are Fruits good, and High Fructose Corn Syrup Bad?

Well fruits contain a lot of things in addition to just a sugar, they contain enzymes, minerals, vitamins, fiber and in some cases even proteins, so it's a complete nutritional package.An apple or an orange actually contains all of the different components your body is going to need to use it most effectively, but the high fructose corn syrup is just pure sugar.

Eat in Proportion
Eat in Proportion

Balanced Diet

No one nutrient is bad; protein, vitamins, minerals even fat & glucose are not bad, glucose is the energy source of our body, we couldn't live without it, What's bad is when you get imbalance of nutrients, too much of one and not enough of others. If you look at yourself and you're overweight chances are you're consuming too many carbs & sugars but you aren't getting enough fats & proteins. every time you eat something that's refined; refined sugar or fruit roll-up they are just perpetuating that imbalance, because high fructose corn syrup and most of those fine foods don't contain any of the other nutrients that your body needs.

Recap

Main points of the article:

  1. starches are sugars they're gonna spike your blood sugar and they're going to contribute to weight gain
  2. Natural foods are nutritional package so eat more fruits and vegetables
  3. please stop feeding your kids fruit roll-ups because refined foods creates nutrient imbalance.

their 2320 calories in a pound of corn chips but a pound Apple's only contains 240 calories that's right you can eat 10 pounds of apples to get the same amount of calories as one pound of corn chips.

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