A discussion of carbohydrates would be incomplete without some mention of the highly publicized issue of blood sugar. The presence of sugar (glucose) in the blood, the rising and falling of blood-sugar levels in response to foods, and the relationship between carbohydrates and sugar has raised many questions in people’s minds. Some people erroneously believe that sugar causes diabetes; others, that it causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Here is what the experts say.
Diabetes. Most experts today believe that diabetes is an inherited problem, the symptoms of which are related to the diet, but which is not caused by the diet. The inability to process glucose causes the disease’s most obvious symptom: sugar in the urine. Contrary to popular opinion, the most accurate test for the presence of diabetes is not the glucose tolerance test, which is performed after giving a test dose of glucose by serial sampling of the blood and analyzing its glucose content. Rather, the most accurate test measures fasting blood sugar and insulin levels.
The cause of diabetes is not yet known. Insulin, the hormone that sets off key bodily reactions in the processing of glucose, was once thought to be missing in the diabetic, but doctors now know that this simple explanation is not correct. They also know that the control of obesity and eating a balanced diet that contains a good proportion of complex carbohydrates is helpful in managing the disease. Complex carbohydrates are recommended rather than simple sugars, which cause the rapid rising of blood-sugar levels that trouble the diabetic.
Hypoglycemia. The media have made hypoglycemia a popular diagnosis for such symptoms as nervousness, fatigue, depression, headache, and numerous other problems, which have been erroneously linked to the consumption of sugar and other simple carbohydrates. A glucose tolerance test will uncover hypoglycemia where it truly exists. But if the symptoms do
What Dieters Should Know Of all health issues related to carbohydrates, that of weight loss is probably the most misunderstood. Most dieters are aware of the disastrous effects of too much of the wrong carbohydrates – principally sweets – on a weight-loss plan.