Eat Healthier

Do you avoid starches because you have heard that they are fattening? You may be surprised to learn that the complex, natural starches found in whole grain such as brown rice or whole wheat, and in vegetables, are in reality the best foods we can eat.

Natural foods, which contain complex carbohydrates, are energy foods.Compare with proteins or fats, complex carbohydrates provide the body with more easily usable fuel for energy, and leave behind fewer waste products.

Nearly everyone eats carbohydrates in some form at each meal. However, in our modern world, where processed and refined foods are readily available, up to half of the carbohydrates eaten by the average individual are supplied in the form of simple carbohydrates. the problem is that simple carbohydrates can damage our health.

Complex versus simple carbohydrates

Various colorful legumes.

A doughnut and coffee with cream and sugar in the morning, and a candy bar in the afternoon, may seem to give you a lift, but in reality these simple carbohydrate foods cause fatigue within a few minutes, when the sugar leaves the bloodstream. What happens is that the insulin level shoots up to counteract the overly quick release of sugar. This brings the blood sugar level down, way down, so that you start feeling tense, and hungry for more sugar. Day after day,  your body takes an uncomfortable roller coaster ride, and your emotions can’t help rising and falling along with it. Brown rice, for example, relates a continuos stream of glucose into the blood at a rate of about two calories per minute. the sugar in a candy is burned more quickly, releasing thirty or more calories per minute. Simple sugars such as honey, refined sugar, and even fruit sugars, are absorbed quickly because they are digested without the use of pancreatic enzyme, but they do not provide long-lasting energy. A meal of whole grains, beans, and vegetables will release its energy over a period of hours, without resulting in wide swings of mood or hunger for sweets.

by Michio Kushi/Stephen Blauer