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Slowly Digested Carbohydrates

A study from Switzerland showed that while refined carbohydrates are absorbed in the upper intestinal tract to increase risk for obesity and diabetes, slowly digested or non-absorbable carbohydrates that are absorbed in the colon help to lower cholesterol and to prevent heart attacks.

You should not try to avoid all carbohydrates if you are trying to lose weight. This study shows that you should avoid only the carbohydrates that cause a high rise in blood sugar after you eat them. These refined carbohydrates call out insulin to make you hungry. Carbohydrates are single sugars and chains of sugars. Only single sugars can be absorbed. Carbohydrates that can be easily broken down to single sugars are absorbed very rapidly to cause a high rise in blood sugar, which increases your risk for obesity, heart attacks, diabetes, and strokes.

Other types of carbohydrates include fiber and nonabsorbable starches that are not absorbed in the upper intestinal tract, so they pass to the colon where bacteria ferment them into fatty acids that can be absorbed. These fatty acids help to heal the lining of the colon and help to prevent colon cancer. They are absorbed into the bloodstream from the colon and travel to the liver where they help to prevent heart attacks by blocking the synthesis of cholesterol. So you want to increase your intake of fiber and nonabsorbable starches found in whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts and many vegetables. Limit intake of sugar-added foods, fruit juices, bakery products and pastas.

Effect of diets high or low in unavailable and slowly digestible carbohydrates on the pattern of 24-h substrate oxidation and feelings of hunger in humans. A Sparti, H Milon, V DiVetta, P Schneiter, L Tappy, E Jequier, Y Schutz. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 72, Iss 6, pp 1461-1468Address Schutz Y, Univ Lausanne, Fac Med, Inst Physiol, Rue Bugnon 7, CH-1005 Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

Checked 2/23/17

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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