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Sugar & carbohydrates

One of the most common foods, sugar is a simple carbohydrate. This means it gives us energy. Simple carbohydrates are changed into energy-giving glucose more rapidly than complex carbohydrates like grains and starches meaning that when we eat sugar it causes our blood sugar levels to spike, giving us a quick energy boost.

Unfortunately, if you eat sugar and your blood sugar level goes to high, your body will secrete insulin to deal with it, which often causes headaches and hunger. Sugar is okay once in a while, but we should control our intake, because too much can start our metabolism on a seesaw cycle of extreme highs and lows.

There are lots of ways you can monitor and limit your intake of this simple carbohydrate. One is not to add it to foods. Trust that you are getting enough from foods that actually contain it. Also, recognize that there are no healthy options here, whether it's white, brown or raw, it all has the same effect on your body. Beware of fat-free snacks. Just because there's no fat doesn't mean that they've left out the sweetners. And remember that simple carbohydrates get converted to fats in the body, so it's all the same.

Start reading lables. Many foods which you wouldn't normally associate with sweetness have high sugar levels. Watch for ingredients called dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, sorbitol, galactose, lactose, polydextrose and xylitol, which are all different forms of the same simple carbohydrate. Try for products that are naturally sweet, like fruit and organic cakes. Avoid drinking too much fruit juices. Fruit juices are high in simple carbohydrates, but have none of the fibre found in the fruit itself. Go for the real thing.

Lastly, remember that the more simple carbohydrates you eat, the more you body wants, because it wants to maintain the "high". Eat complex carbs instead, which are healthier and have a slow energy release, so you'll have more energy for longer.



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