Dr. Buna | 3 Easy Steps to Knowing Your Carbs

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3 Easy Steps to Knowing Your Carbs

OK today we are going to talk about sugars. Because people don't understand what sugars are about. There's a good kind of sugar to eat and bad kind of sugar to eat, but sugar is still a sugar. Just like you can't put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig!

First thing we're going to do is talk about how to describe certain sugars. Sugars are actually saccharides. And we have three basic kinds of saccharides - we have monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.

I'm going to describe to you what happens when you eat one of these guys. What I've drawn is three graphs. This level here is the level or concentration of sugar in your blood (the y axis). This here is shows time passing (x axis). As time passes I'm measuring the amount of sugar that is in your blood.

When you eat the monosaccharide, also known as a simple sugar, you ingest it here (time=0), your body absorbs it into the blood stream, and your pancreas produces insulin. Insulin is the guy that transfers sugar from the blood into the tissues or it sends it into the Fat Department. We prefer not to send it into the Fat department because that's unhealthy and we want to make healthy choices!

So when ingest a simple sugar, like a candy bar or a doughnut, or something good like that, the concentration of sugar in your blood goes up really fast, your pancreas kicks in and sucks the sugars out of the blood - but it always overreacts. The blood sugars go so low that the body calls for more food. So you eat more, and then the blood sugar levels go up and down again. These are the swings that you talk about - your sugar swings. You don't want to have sugar swings - its bad for us because it calls for more food.

There are also things called the disaccharides. Remember that the monosaccharides are in products like chocolate bars and donuts. The disaccharides are in fruits. They are all over the place but most commonly in fruits. This is the same graph showing blood sugar concentration. This symbol means concentration of sugar in your blood. When you eat a disaccharide, your body has to break the bond between saccharides before it can utilize the sugars. Therefore, the rise in blood sugar is not as steep, not as high or prolonged compared to the monosaccharides graph. Again, Mr. Insulin comes along and overproduces, calls for more food, and more insulin is produced. That's not quite as wild a swing in sugars but it’s still a swing in sugars.

Then there are the poly-saccharides. Poly means many. Now what I mean by many, although I've drawn 5, there could be thousands and thousands of saccharides on the chain. When you ingest a polysaccharide your blood sugar levels go up very slowly over time. These are found in foods such as the ancient grains and oatmeal. That's why, when you eat something like that, your blood sugar doesn't go really high because the insulin doesn't overproduce. You tend not to feel hungry again instantly.

To help you to know where these saccharides are found, in the world of foods, we have the thing called the Glycemic Index. GLY means sugar. So the sugar index has a whole list of things about what kinds of foods have a high sugar level and what kinds of foods have a low sugar level. So, if you go to Mr. Google, who knows everything, and you type in glycemic index, you will see a list of the foods that are good for you and the ones that are not so good for you. You want to eat low Glycemic Index foods. And that's all about sugars. Talk to you later!

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