Carbohydrates Explained

The carbohydrates are the starches and sugars which are the main providers of energy for keeping the body working and coping with the activities we undertake. Western man has about half his diet in the form of carbohydrate but in the east it constitutes up to 90% usually taken as grains. It is fortunate that grains are also good providers of protein; starvation is generally the result of too little food rather than too few carbohydrates.

The refining of carbohydrates into white flour, polished rice and white sugar is a prime cause of overweight. Such foods are easy to eat in large amounts whereas if they are as near nature as possible-for example as wholewheat flour; brown rice and raw sugar-the appetite is well satisfied with less quantity.

Another bonus is that the all important dietaty fibre, probably in its best form as cereal fibre (bran), is retained. Dietary fibre adds bulk to the contents of the gut, and for this reason is extremely valuable in preventing constipation. It is thought that a Western diet low in dietary fibre may be one of the causes of diverticulitis, appendicitis and varicose veins.

If you include dietary fibre in your diet you will be less likely to suffer from those disorders linked with over-refined foods. It must be remembered that brown bread is often coloured with caramel, and has added wheatgerm (a good food in itself), but is basically made from a refined or semi-refined flour. It is safest to insist when you can on bread from stoneground wholeweat flour as this will contain all the necessary nutrients. Brown rice, pulses (lentils, peas and beans) and oatmeal are also excellent sources of dietary fibre.

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