The Spectrum of Carbohydrates – from Whole Grain to White Bread

All nutrients are not created equal especially when it comes to their effect on our health. So shifting our focus from nutrients to foods can help us develop better eating habits that will support our long term health. >> Getting our head around the idea that we should be focused on the category of foods, mot nutrients, is I think very important. And I think doctors should be talking to patients about food. Even if as scientists and researchers they see through foods to nutrients.

It may be a helpful way to study foods. It’s not a helpful way to communicate about food. >> Let’s look at an example of how focusing on nutrients rather than food can leave us confused and potentially consuming a diet that’s dangerous to our health. In recent years, a lot of attention has been focused on the fact that many of us are eating too many carbohydrates. There are lots of popular diet trends that encourage us to drastically reduce the carbohydrates in our diet, even to the point of limiting our intake of fresh fruit. At the same time, some of these low-carb diets seem to suggest that protein and fats can be eaten freely. But a diet that’s very high in animal protein and contains no whole grain or not enough fruits and vegetables could leave us with serious problems in the long run.

In fact, the category carbohydrates includes a wide spectrum of foods. Some of which are really important for our health. And some of which can compromise it. Whole grains like brown rice and rolled oats are carbohydrates that provide our bodies with a usable source of energy and bound together in that very same food is a significant amount of fiber, which slows the release of glucose from that food into the bloodstream. The glycemic index of a food is the measure of the speed at which glucose is released into the blood stream after it’s digested. A whole grain like brown rice or quinoa will result in a slower release of glucose and a more muted insulin response.

On the other hand, a food that’s high in refined carbohydrates, like white bread or soda, will lead to a more rapid release of glucose into the blood. And in response to this, the body releases a large amount of insulin, the hormone in our bodies that lowers blood sugar. Because of spike of glucose and insulin lead to less stable blood sugar levels, eating foods that are refined, especially highly processed carbohydrates, can result in an earlier return of hunger and a tendency to overeat. The glycemic index of a food is lower when the food contains fiber or when it’s eaten in combination with protein foods or foods containing some dietary fat. For people who are struggling to manage their weight, or their blood sugar levels, eating foods that have a low glycemic index is especially important, but choosing low glycemic foods is generally a good idea for all us. So when we talk about dietary carbohydrates we’re actually talking about a very broad family of foods. Some that can be harmful to our long term health, and some that can support it.

Learning how to choose the right foods within each nutrient category is one of the keys to long term success. [MUSIC].

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Biomolecules: The Carbohydrates

Welcome to The Carbohydrates In this module you’ll explore what carbohydrates are Carbohydrates, are the sugars, starches and fiber found in the foods we eat. They are one of the main nutrients in our diet. Carbohydrates are organic molecules with the general formula of CHO in a one. Two one ratio In this formula C stands for carbon H for hydrogen and 0 for oxygen. Although carbohydrates constitute only one to two percent of cell mass, they provide the raw fuel for cellular energy production. Carbohydrates are classified according to molecular size and solubility. In general, the smaller molecules are more soluble than the larger ones. Monosaccharides include glucose fructose, galactose, deoxyribose and ribose. Monosaccharides are a single unit of sugar and are the smallest carbohydrate Glucose, a six-carbon sugar hexose is the sugar in our blood Fructose, the sugar that sweetens fruit and galactose. The sugar found in milk have the same chemical formula as glucose and are therefore isomers of glucose. Isomers have the same composition, but have a different arrangement of their atoms and properties. Glucose can have a straight chain of carbon atoms, however, its more common to find them in a ring structure.

cellular energy production

Two other five-carbon, sugars or monosaccharides called Pentos used in nucleic acid synthesis are deoxyribose and ribose. Disaccharides include sucrose, lactose and maltose. Two monosaccharides joined together by dehydration synthesis to form a disaccharide molecule Sucrose or table sugar. Glucose plus fructose equals sucrose plus water, Lactose or milk. Sugar, Glucose plus galactose equals lactose, plus water, Maltose or malt sugar, Glucose plus glucose equals maltose plus water Polysaccharides include starch, cellulose and glycogen. These long chain, like polymers, make ideal storage products due to their insolubility Starch is the storage molecule synthesized from glucose by plants Cellulose, which is also synthesized by plants for cell wall construction, is indigestible because we lack enzymes for it. Cellulose provides fiber to promote peristalsis. Glycogen is the carbohydrate storage molecule found in muscle and liver cells When blood sugar drops liver cells, hydrolyze glycogen and release glucose to the blood. Congratulations You’ve completed Biomolecules The Carbohydrates..