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Sugar and Carbs

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Old 08-04-2008, 11:43 AM   #1
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Sugar and Carbs

Would someone be kind enough to explain to me the difference between sugar and carbs when reading food labels.......What I mean is if I wanted to eat something with 4 grammes of sugar in it and then saw something with 25grammes of carbs and no sugar what would be the best choice for me?

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Old 08-04-2008, 12:52 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Orwigsburg, PA, USA
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tfkeel HB User
Re: Sugar and Carbs

Sugar is a carbohydrate itself. All carbohydrates offer 4 calories per gram to your body. There is, however, a difference in some carbohydrates which is how fast they metabolize down into sugar. Refined sugar metabolizes fast in the body, it's peak "output" occurs at about 1-1/2 - 2 hours after you consume it and has a "peaked" time-profile of "output". Sugar is a "simple" carbohydrate.

"Complex" carbohydrates, like those in whole-grain breads, offer the same amount of calories per gram as "simple" carbohydrates, but metabolize down to sugars in the body at a slower rate than "simple" carbohydrates. Their "output" is extended over a longer period and has a more "flat" output with a less-defined "peak" and cause your blood sugar to rise much less dramatically. It is easier to control the profile of complex carbohydrates in the body than simple carbohydrates. Some of these also pass through your body undigested, so eating 30 grams of carb in whole grain bread actually delivers less calories to your body than 30 grams of refined sugar.

The other major difference is that carbohydrates in the "complex" form typically contain nutrients such as vitamins and minerals which are beneficial to your body .... and add fiber content to your bowels to keep your digestive tract "scrubbed" and clean. So, the calories you get from complex carbohydrates are not "empty"..... like sugars or alcohols are. Their "food value" is better, gram for gram.

The contributions of carbohydrates to the body has been studied and reported quite a bit in recent years. There are charts and graphs of the "glycemic index" of various foods which give a ratio expressed in terms of a specific food compared to pure sugar and the rating is given by the effect in the body on blood sugar levels.

The advantage for someone with diabetes in eating the "complex" carbohydrates which have the lower glycemic indices is that the "flat" profile output in the body tends to make one feel satisfied over long periods of time....

Simple carbohydrates like refined sugar or alcohols tend to make one feel "hungry" pretty quickly after eating. That's because the body "rebounds" from the "peaky" time-profile of that sugar's release.

There is also another choice that a diabetic should be aware of. It is better to eat 8 ounces of a potato from the garden than 8 ounces of potato chips.... even though the potato will likely raise his sugar faster. The chips contain fats which tend to "stretch" the digestive output of sugar into the blood over more time, but the chips are robbed of nutrients and minerals by high-temperature frying and preservatives are added so that the product has a longer shelf life and no appeal to insects or vermin. These animals are smarter than man.....they know that stuff isn't food.....

Last edited by tfkeel; 08-04-2008 at 01:05 PM.

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