Tag Archives: diabetes

Not All Sugars are Created Equal

Sugar-Types
Dietary carbohydrates, or sugars, play a critical role in our health because they provide us with our primary source of energy we need for proper bodily function. Though crucial to our health, most of us are aware that too much sugar can cause detrimental effects to our bodies, leading to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. What many of us may not be aware of is how different types of carbohydrates, or sugars, affect our body differently. The fact is, not all sugars are created equal.

Carbohydrates are classified into three basic groups: dietary fiber, simple sugars, and complex sugars. Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Dietary fiber does not exist in animal products such as meat, eggs and milk. This type of carbohydrate is great for digestive health. It slows the digestion process which makes you feel full for longer, aids in blood sugar regulation, as well as increases bowl bulk due to its indigestible nature, promoting regularity. Whole grains, vegetables, nuts and legumes are the ideal sources for fiber intake verses supplement forms.

Complex sugars are named so because they are larger compounds that take our bodies longer to break down or digest. One of the most important health benefits complex sugars provide is that it aids in blood sugar control. By breaking down more slowly, sugar is released into our blood more gradually which helps maintain balanced and healthy vascular and central nervous systems. If sugar is released into our blood too quickly, or at too high of a volume, this can increase fat production as well as can cause sometimes irreversible damage to our bodies.

There are common misconceptions in our culture concerning simple carbohydrates. Simple sugars breakdown easily in our bodies because they are only either one or two sugar molecule compounds. One sugar molecule compounds are usually our refined sugars, which include sucrose (table sugar) and the infamous high-fructose corn syrup, which are both found in most processed foods. Two sugar compounds are found in fruits, root vegetables, honey, and milk. These types of sugars are considered advantageous over refined sugar. They are usually in combination with other vitamins, minerals and fiber, which aid its utilization and overall health benefits verses something like table sugar, because of the intense refining process, other nutrients that it could have possessed are removed.

Though evidence shows that there is not a direct link in disease due to a certain type of sugar, it is recognized that because as a nation we have almost doubled our sugar intake in general over the past 30 years, mostly due to an increase in our refined sugar intake, is why we are seeing increases of such diseases as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. These sugars are stripped of any sort of nutrient content and usually eaten in large quantities.  By decreasing our refined sugar intake and increasing our intake of fiber, complex sugars and non-refined simple sugars such as fruit and root vegetables, we are simultaneously increasing our overall intake of essential vitamins, minerals and other amazing health-protecting nutrients and thus making great contributions to our overall health.

The Fort Collins Food Co-op is an excellent place to help you eat a more nutrition and balanced diet.  We carry a full line of all organic fresh produce, are fully stocked with bulk whole grains, ancient grains, rice, nuts, seeds and legumes and amazing supply of over a hundred different dried herbs and spices.

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Ask the Doc: June is Men’s Health Month

PractticalHealthSolutions

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common concern for men that is not limited to the elderly. The Massachusetts Male Aging study revealed that 52% of men experience ED, including 40% of 40-year old men. ED is sometimes an early warning sign of diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension or hormonal imbalance. This article will focus on strategies you can take to prevent ED and possibly overcome it without the use of drugs.

Substances that may cause or contribute to ED include certain prescription drugs, excessive consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and BPA. Prolonged pressure on the perineum from long bike rides may contribute as well. Unresolved anger, anxiety, stress and depression can also contribute to ED. Stress management techniques and/or psychotherapy, with or without your partner, may help in these situations.

Dietary considerations for ED: Eat a diet of whole foods, avoiding all refined sugars, and refined foods in general. Consider a Mediterranean diet. Eat a small amount of protein with each meal and snack to minimize blood sugar peaks and troughs.

Use organic, non-GMO oils in a 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to 3 oils. For most of us, this means increasing our omega-3s and decreasing our omega-6 oils. Examples of healthy sources of omega-3 oils are flaxseed oil, walnut oil and fatty fish. Use only high smoke-point oils (grape seed, macadamia nut and sesame seed, etc) for stir-frying and other high-heat cooking. The Fort Collins Food Co-operative has a wide selection of these healthy oils.

Eating 100 grams of pistachio nuts per day for 3 weeks has been shown to improve ED ( Aldemir, etal. 2011). A great selection of bulk pistachios can also be found at the Food Co-operative as well.

The take-home message is that ED is often a symptom of a more serious condition, so a thorough work up is essential.

By Joan D Waters, ND   www.practicalhealthsolutions.com