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Are the low-carbohydrate diets the most healthful way to lose weight?

Some people increase their risk for heart attacks, cancers and other diseases by markedly restricting all carbohydrates because they think that all carbohydrates are harmful. Restricting good carbohydrates deprives a person of necessary nutrients that increase their susceptibility to disease. Bad carbohydrates are ones that cause an immediate high rise in blood sugar levels. Good carbohydrates do not do this. A recent report explains the difference (Current Atherosclerosis Reports, November 2005). Good carbohydrates are the ones found in nature and usually do not cause a high rise in blood sugar levels. Bad carbohydrates pass immediately from the stomach into the intestines and cause a high rise in blood sugar.

Whole grains have a thick fiber coating that releases starches and sugars very slowly so blood sugar levels do not rise too high. However, grinding a whole grain to form flour destroys the seed coat and allows the blood sugar rapidly to enter the intestines where it is absorbed almost immediately to cause a high rise in blood sugar. When you eat an orange, the solid particles go into your stomach, where the pyloric sphincter closes and prevents all solid particles from entering the intestines until they are broken down into a soup that is then allowed to pass. However, liquid orange juice passes directly into the intestine where it is absorbed immediately. For most healthy people and most diabetics, it is perfectly healthful to eat large amounts of the good carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. The carbohydrates to limit or avoid are foods made with flour, fruit juices, sugared soft drinks, and foods that contain added sugars. Read Why Whole Grains are Better than Any Flour
and my recommended diet.

February 1, 2006

May 10th, 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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