Not all carbs are created equal

Just to be clear — not all carbohydrates are created the same. For one, carbohydrates are a macronutrient meaning that we as humans need this type of nutrient to survive because it is an important source of energy for our bodies. The way that carbohydrates are turned into energy is through our digestive system which turns the carbs into glucose or blood sugar. This blood sugar is what gives us energy to all parts of our body which includes cells, organs and tissues.

The thing that we need to be watchful for though is to make sure we eat the right kinds of carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are made when the whole plant itself is broken down and processed so that there is little to no nourishment left for our bodies to use as energy. This lack of nourishment causes high rises in blood sugar leaving us feeling like a nap is necessary after lunch because of the “high/low” we sometimes get throughout the day instead of the “steadiness” that we seek for a productive day.

What are some of those refined carbohydrates that have been created by our industrialized world and why should we avoid them? Be sure to read labels and look out for those bad sugars, like:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Table Sugar
  • Pretty much any sugar added to a food is not a good choice

Instead, have a little honey in your coffee or try using a little almond milk to sweeten it.

    As mentioned in some of my previous posts, there is no need to go on any crazy diet, but instead stick to a healthy diet that keeps the amount of sugar you have to a minimum and choose to eat the least amount of processed foods as possible. 

    2 thoughts on “Not all carbs are created equal”

    1. With all due respect to the author, this is incorrect information and misguided advice. Carbohydrates are indeed a macronutrient, but that in no way indicates they are required for human survival. Mammals can largely be divided into two groups based on diet; carnivores and herbivores with a few omnivores (like mice, humans, and most bears) mixed in. Of course there are many factors to consider in the comparison I’m about to make, but based solely on our gastrointestinal tracts, humans are much more similar (and I could probably get away with “identical”) to carnivores than chambered or multi-stomach herbivores. That being said, I’d like to know exactly how the author explains the existence of lions or any big cat, obligate carnivores, who eat nothing but meat. Meat contains ZERO carbs, by the way. Humans do not require carbohydrates for survival. Period. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence to support the idea that humans survived primarily on meat for millennia before being introduced to agriculture (and the abundant carbohydrates that accompanied it) and we could probably do so again today if we were so inclined.

      Also, this notion that carbs are somehow the human body’s “preferred” fuel source is not accurate and is yet another example of blind presumption and ad hoc thinking so common in nutrition today. I won’t open the debate here, but all that can really be said is that the human body tends to utilize carbohydrate fuel sources FIRST. Somehow current nutritional “science” manages to make the leap that this implies it is “preferred” by the body. Others argue this is simply the body’s quickest and most efficient way of REMOVING carbs from the body before they can be stored as fat or cause harm. Anyway, you don’t need carbs. Just ask a lion.

      I was intrigued to discover a nutritional post titled ‘Not all carbs are created equal’. From a nutritional standpoint, this would have been new to me and I take interest in the issue. I was further surprised to learn it ended with a recommendation to consume honey and almond milk. First, if you are looking for a good source of carbs try vegetables and maybe some fruit, something with a little fiber. Honey is basically sugars and water. Of those sugars, about 49% is fructose, 40% is glucose, and 11% are other disaccharides. Common table sugar (sucrose) is a 50/50 mix of fructose and glucose. Bad news. These carbs ARE created equal. In fact, they are basically the same. Anyone who believes there is an appreciable difference between table sugar and honey with respect to affects on blood sugar is probably not in a position to guide the nutritional habits of others.

      Almond milk, one the other hand, contains very few carbs. That’s good, as far as I’m concerned, but it does little to support the idea that some carbs are better than others. Pure almond milk is also not particularly sweet…unless of course, sugars have been added by the manufacturer (which is very common and, in my limited experience, they tend to add A LOT of sugar). If that’s the case, well we’re back to square one.

      “This blood sugar is what gives us energy to all parts of our body which includes cells, organs and tissues.”

      “This lack of nourishment causes high rises in blood sugar leaving us feeling like a nap is necessary…”

      Huh?

      Wow. So in your first sentence, blood sugar “gives us energy”. Two sentences later it leaves “us feeling like a nap is necessary”. Depending on what you mean, “nutrients” have little, if anything, to do with carbohydrate absorption. You’re probably thinking of fiber. “Organs and tissues” are, of course comprised of cells, and all energy generation in the human body occurs at the cellular level, it’s called cellular respiration.

      This post represents a significant lack of understanding with respect to food, the human body, and their interaction. I beg you, please do more research in the future before providing nutritional guidance to the public. Considering the state of our nation’s heath and food system, this borders on irresponsible.

    2. Although I do appreciate comments, there is certainly no need to be completely rude about it.
      Yes, while carbohydrates are not "absolutely" essential to survival, they are considered to be essential to a healthy diet. There are many carbs that are very good for you, such as, fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds as an example. Also, not all carbs are created equal — there are refined (processed) carbs and unrefined such as those mentioned above. A very small amount of honey can be a better substitute than table sugar since you typically use less honey, and it at least contains some antioxidants. As far as almond milk goes, it clearly depends on the individual as to what they consider sweet. And yes there are various types of almond milk that should be looked more carefully, hence I mention to read labels. Carbs are important in providing energy to the body – so once again, carbs are important for a healthy diet. Can you live without them? Yes, but do you eat any form of carbohydrate or do you have the metabolism of a lion and only eat meat? That can't be good either — we don't have the same metabolism. Lesson learned, I will need to explain better and I will do more research, but there is no need to insult by saying I have a significant lack of understanding with respect to food. Best of luck.

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