One of the most interesting things I have studied is the body’s behavior when ingesting sugars. Now, the body produces its own blood sugars, whether you are ingesting sugar or not. The body produces 120 grams of glucose all on its own, using stored fat and converting it to glucose (think fat burning). Most all of the cells in your body use glucose, along with amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and fats for energy. Glucose is the main source of fuel for your brain. So, wouldn’t you want to fuel your brain with the highest quality “sugars,” or carbohydrates, you can?

You can divide sugars into two categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates include high sugar content fruit like bananas, grapes, mangoes and pineapple, dairy products, candy, table sugar, flour, rice, pasta, etc. These simple carbohydrates typically do not contain fiber and starch. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly by the body and used as energy OR simply stored as fat. A useful tip to consider is: If the glucose is not immediately needed for energy, your body will store it as fat 100% of the time. For example, lets say you have a bowl of pasta for dinner and then go to sleep. The glucose in that pasta isn’t being used by the body so your body stores it as fat. Consider the athletes who carb load before a race. They burn those excess sugar calories and then the body turns to the stored fat cells and burns them for energy.

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand, contain more nutrients and are digested slowly, therefor allowing you to absorb the nutrients. They do not cause a huge spike in blood sugar, therefor not increasing risk for weight gain and diabetes. Remember, if excess calories (glucose) is not being used for energy, it will be stored as fat. Complex carbohydrates include high fiber fruits like berries, especially blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains like quinoa and whole oats.

Ivey Leidy