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Digestion of Carbohydrates is a Key Factor to Control our Health

Elvis Elvis

“I was gaining weight very rapidly and read about the idea of restricting carbohydrates as an alternative to going hungry. I had a big appetite, so that was the only thing I would even consider.” Robert Atkins
Carbohydrates are a natural organic substance that includes sugars, starch and cellulose (fiber).Process of digestion is started in the Mouth; saliva contains an enzyme called amylase that starts breaking down the complex carbohydrates into smaller pieces.

In next step food is moved to the stomach where Enzymes continues to breaking down carbohydrates but with much slower speed. Part of food must be split into smaller molecules by stomach acidity (stomach acidity speed up digestion of carbohydrates). From stomach food is pushed into the Small Intestine where amylase is secreted by the pancreas. It is final step to transform complex carbohydrates into form of carbohydrates called Simple sugars like maltose or lactose.

These simple sugars are always converted to Glucose which is basic sugar molecule, in other words “white sugar”. Glucose is absorbed through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream.

Digestion and absorption of carbohydrates is one of those processes in our organism which are very simple but still very controversial. There are a lot of evidences that too much of carbohydrates in diet are positively correlated with diseases of XX and XXI countries. In other words we can say that carbohydrate based diet is very unhealthy. On picture above Glucose.
As an effect of carbohydrate digestion level of glucose in our blood is going higher. Our organism has to realise hormone called Insulin to allocate glucose in cells for energy supply or as a glycogen which is kind of fuel stored in muscles. If we are over eating sugars every day first bad effect of this practice is called obesity. Our body has to deal with excess of sugar by storing it as a fat tissue.

Digestion of Carbohydrates is a Key Factor to Control our Health

Next bad effect of carbohydrate overeating is called Insulin Resistance which means that cells are unable to respond properly to the insulin hormone (cells becoming resistant to insulin action). And since one of the roles of Insulin is to unload bloodstream from excess of glucose when insulin fail glucose can’t be properly allocated as a fast source of energy or as a glycogen.

Insulin resistance will lead also to problems with production of hormone Glucagon (responsible for fat tissue burning) and will elevate level of free fatty acids. All of these will lead one to the Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes. The best known method of prevention is to eliminate all of processed carbohydrates and to slow down digestion of carbohydrates.

How to effectively slow down digestion of carbohydrates?

The speed of digestion of carbohydrates is determined by the food we eat and type of carbohydrates we eat. Simple molecule of glucose is much less resistant than a starch, and is digested much faster. To effectively slow down this process we should eat carbohydrates with some kind of fat. It can be saturated or monounsaturated fat. Fibber is good idea but it is also less effective than fatty acids. There is no big difference between potatoes and white sugar or fruits. Digestion of carbohydrates (to many SIMPLE carbohydrates) is not encoded in our genes and that is why we have lots of health related problems linked to excess of dietary carbohydrates.

In all of these cases effect will be the same. Of course fruits have less glucose than spoon of white sugar but fructose is converted to glucose and has identical effects on our organism. Keep this in mind if you want to improve your health. If you are diabetic you should minimize ingestion of carbohydrates. The best for you will be natural and healthy source of carbohydrates e.g. nuts, vegetables and berries fruits. The rest of carbohydrates should be avoided (in most cases).