Simple sugars are the ultimate fuel for our cells. Carbohydrates are the easiest to convert to simple sugars. Glucose, for instance, is one of the preferred fuel sources of some of the most vital cells in our body such as the brain, red blood cells and some nervous tissues.
There are three main types of carbohydrates: simple sugars (made of one to two molecules of sugar and found in most foods), oligosaccharides (composed of three to nine sugar molecules, some not entirely digestible and some are only partially digestible), polysaccharides (or complex carbohydrates, they contain ten or more sugar molecules).
Simple sugars are easily absorbed by our system. They come in two forms, refined and whole-food. Confusing refined sugars, such as the ones extracted from fruit and cane, and whole-food sugar contained in most sweet fruits is what has caused us to believe that all sugars are bad.
In this article I will discuss the difference between the three major types of carbohydrates and I will show that we can eat plenty of them and still conduct a very healthy life style.
These include rice, corn and other grains, roots and tubers and legumes. We make pasta, bread, cakes, cereals and pancakes from them.
Complex carbohydrates are nutritionally inferior to fruits and vegetables as they lack the abundant amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Except corn peas and some root vegetables, such as carrots and beets, we can’t even attempt to eat complex carbohydrates without cooking them. They are otherwise very difficult to digest. They can cause acidity which can be dangerous considering that our body needs to be alkaline to stay healthy.
Another important aspect to consider is that these foods are rarely eaten without the use of spices. Very often they are served with brain destroying neuro-toxic and addictive flavour enhancers. Did you know that some major fast food chains employ food chemists to load their food with additives to keep their customers high and coming back for more?
Refined simple carbohydrates
These include cookies, cakes, candies and other confections. They are also added to drinks, cereals and complex carbohydrates. If the ingredients list contains the word fructose, sucrose or any other -ose ending word, they contain refined sugars.
Refined simple sugars are empty calories, i.e. calories without their full complement of original nutrients. Whenever you consume food which doesn’t come in its original natural state you are missing something vital to its absorption and therefore, creating an imbalance.
These foods add no value to your nutrition. Instead they cause nutritional deficit and accelerate ageing.
Whole-food simple carbohydrates
The biggest mistake is to confuse refined simple carbohydrates with the sugars contained in fruit. The latter comes with a whole package of nutrients that are extremely beneficial to the body. Dr Douglas Graham recommends that 80% of our daily calories come from whole ripe fresh fruits. This provides the optimal fuel for our cells. It’s not surprising that some athletes eat up to 50 bananas a day to maintain high levels of performance.
Fruits are the optimal type of carbohydrates to include in our diets because they are digested quickly and easily and provide a phenomenal source of energy.
See also The science of laughter Video
So here’s a controversial thought I want to leave you with. You’ll think this is a little bit crazy, but I invite you to try it for yourself before judging. How about beginning to consider fruit as a staple food and have meals made of only fruit, that is, enough fruit until you feel satisfied and full?
For a long time we have been accustomed to think that fruit is a treat, something to have at the end of our meals. But if athletes are reaching very high levels of performance by eating mostly fruits, might we also be able to sustain ourselves in an healthy way by consuming one or two meals a day of just fruit?
What is your relationship with fruit? How would you like to eat it as much as you like?
This article is inspired by Dr. Douglas Graham’s book "The 80/10/10 diet".