Overconsumption of “bad” carbs a/k/a refined carbohydrates – especially relative to protein intake – has adverse effects on blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body. It has been shown that diets high in refined carbohydrates are (i) a major factor in obesity, and (ii) raise fat levels in the blood.
Refined carbohydrates include processed white flour products and refined sugars. These inferior carbs are found in cakes, cookies, breads, white rice and pasta. Devoid of most worthwhile nutrients, refined carbohydrates are poor sources of nutrition. When a complex carbohydrate is processed into a refined carbohydrate, the remaining nutrients are few. Refined carbohydrate foods actually deplete the body of several B vitamins and minerals.
How You Gain Weight
High consumption of refined carbohydrate products will leave the body nutritionally deficient. But the body still demands the nutrients it’s not receiving. So, people continue to be hungry even though they may consume high levels of refined carbohydrates. They must continue to eat more food to get those missing nutrients. This leads to overeating and obesity.
Refined carbohydrates are digested rapidly and quickly converted into glucose. When this happens, insulin levels increase. Insulin assists our cells with the absorption of excess sugar in the bloodstream. In this manner, insulin helps to stabilize our blood sugar levels, and keep our blood sugar levels from rising too high. When too much insulin is released, excess glucose is moved into our cells. This release of insulin also triggers the release of fat hormones. And these fat hormones transform the excess glucose into fat in order to clear the bloodstream of the excess sugar. This excess glucose is stored as fat, and that explains why obesity is often associated with overconsumption of carbs.
Complex Carbohydrates Are a Better Choice
Whole grains, beans and legumes are the better carb choices, since they have a lesser effect on insulin secretion. These complex carbohydrates provide the body with a slow, sustained increase in blood glucose levels. Whole grain products contain balanced amounts of nutrients including protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they are metabolized more gradually in the body, without triggering fat-producing hormones.
When the overconsumption of refined carbohydrates causes the release of a large amount of insulin to clear the excess glucose from the bloodstream, this surge of insulin then lowers blood sugar to levels lower than they were prior to the consumption of the food. If this series of events recurs time and time again, sooner or later the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin is compromised, resulting in diabetes.
If we want to maintain normal blood sugar levels and avoid obesity associated with elevated blood sugar levels, we should emphasize high-fiber foods and whole grain carbohydrates which slowly convert to glucose. And we should eat fewer low-fiber, highly processed, refined carbohydrates.
Does your recipe for health success include whole grains?