Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interview with a Carbohydrate ...

We continue our pretend interview with Mr. Carbohydrate, trying to shed some light on whether or not we will ever be able to eat anything starchy again. Today Mr. Carbo seems to bring us some hope and perhaps even some good news ....

Are there any other GOOD types of carbohydrates?

(Carbohydrates) Yes. Fiber is A carbohydrate found in plants that cannot be digested. Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in beans, fruit and oats, dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber, found in whole grains and vegetables, doesn't dissolve in water. Both types of fiber help with digestion, lower cholesterol and help control blood sugar.

(Jennifer) How can I get some fiber?
(Carbohydrates) Fibrous Carbohydrates are derived from roughage such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli and skins of various fruits and veggies.
(Jennifer) How do carbohydrates help us?

(Carbohydrates) Glucose (simple carbs) flow to the blood stream and becomes available to every cell in the body. Cells then absorb glucose and convert it into energy through cellular production. The energy created is known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) (Bounds, L , et el, 2003)

(Jennifer) Ok so can you explain this to make it a little more understandable?

(Carbohydrates) Yes (see How Digestion Works Blog) Also-- A person eats a carbohydrate like a cookie. When in the mouth, the saliva which contains the enzyme amylase, mixes with food and breaks some starches into smaller units. However, amylase is no good once the carbohydrates reaches the acidic environment of the stomach. So, the carb enters the small intestine. Here is where key digestive enzymes are secreted from the pancreas and the small intestine (most digestion and absorption occur). (Bounds, L , et el, 2003)

(Jennifer) So then what happens with the pancreatic amylase?
(Carbohydrates) Pancreatic amylase breaks starch into disaccharides (a sugar composed of two monosaccharides, which is a simple carbohydrate composed of one sugar molecule, such as glucose and fructose ) and small polysaccharides (A molecule with multiple units of sugar). (The Library of Cancer, 2006-2009)

In a nut-shell, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin and it will then either store carbs in the muscle or store them as fat. It also takes the amino acids (protein) and shelters them inside the muscle cell for recovery and repair of every day activity.

We will see that in the small intestine the enzymes break any remaining disaccharides into their monosaccharide components.

NOTE: Dietary fiber is not digested by the small intestine; instead, it passes to the colon unchanged. (Bounds, L , et el, 2003)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview with a Carbohydrate ....

Although the answers are real, this is a pretend interview.

As I was sitting to eat my dinner one night, I began to get cold sweats when I realized the french fries on my children's dinner plates were taunting me to eat them. Try as I might to resist, I could not hold back the urge to eat just one.
I decided I needed to find out once and for all if carbohydrates are the monsters they have been made out to be, or if I have become victim to yet another diet fad. My interview with Mr. Carbohydrate was certainly enlightening.

(Part 1)

(Jennifer) What is a carbohydrate?

(Carbohydrate) It is simply, a mix of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They function in either a simple or complex way.

(Jennifer) What is the purpose of carbohydrates?

(Carbohydrate) All carbohydrates will eventually turn into a source known as glucose (A molecule (single unit) of sugar) which is the main energy source for your body and your brain.

(Jennifer) what happens when you eat allot of carbs?

(Carbohydrate) Any excess is stored as glycogen (a form of glucose) in the muscles or the liver for later use when you need energy again. When you decrease or eliminate the consumption of carbohydrates in your diet, you begin to feel sluggish, unable to exercise, lose focus and lack concentration. (Blaiz, 2009)

(Jennifer) What kinds of carbohydrates are important?

(Carbohydrate) There are two types of carbohydrates, Simple and Complex.

(Jennifer) So what is the difference?

(Carbohydrate) Simple carbs are shorter chains of sugar and provide short term energy as they are quickly broken down by the body. (these carbs usually have a sweeter taste, like candy, fruit, or sports drinks)

Complex carbs are longer chains of sugar that take the body a longer time to break down and essentially give the body longer lasting energy. (These carbs do not have a noticeably sweet taste. Derived from rice, bread, and potatoes.) (Duchemen, 2009)