Contrasting Carbohydrates and Added Sugars

Carbohydrates are one of the 3 macro nutrients that everyone needs to consume in large amounts daily. Sugars, fibres and starches all fall under the carbohydrate category. Although they are all in the same family, not all of them are alike in terms of nutritional value. The difference between foods that are high in carbohydrates and foods with added sugar are that high carb foods can be naturally occurring carbohydrates while the other have sugar added to provide sweetness.

Foods that are high in added sugars are usually not very healthy. Foods with added sugars can include protein bars, crackers, chocolate, yogurt and even fruit cups. These are all very delicious and sweet, but that’s due to the high amounts of sugar that’s been added. Foods that are high in added sugars can lead to a lot of health problems. Two of the many health problems are type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Rippe & Angelopoulos (2016) believe “Diabetes has emerged as a major and rapidly growing worldwide health concern in the twenty-first century. The prevalence of diabetes is predicted by the International Diabetes Federation to double by 2035. This dramatic increase in diabetes has paralleled the worldwide increase in obesity and has prompted further investigation of potential nutritional links to diabetes. One of the factors that has been suggested as a unique link to diabetes is the consumption of fructose-containing sugars”.

A healthy form of high carbohydrate foods are whole grains. Whole grains are grains that are completely intact. This means the germ and bran are not removed.

These foods are typically high in fibre which prevents constipation and promotes healthier bowel movements. Consuming fibre also helps protect against heart disease, decreases risk of diabetes, and reduces likeliness of becoming overweight. Whole grains also contain more nutrients which include Vitamin B, iron, potassium, and even one of the major macronutrients in protein.

Below are pictures I took of whole grain foods and food with added sugars. The Ritz crackers have added sugars and the wild rice and quinoa are the whole grains. The wild rice was taken at a local grocery store while the other 2 were from home.

Here is a simple and delicious Lemon Herb Quinoa that you can make to get a healthy dose of whole grains.

Quinoa:
2 3/4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups quinoa

Dressing
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves from garden

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary from garden

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Bring quinoa to boil with chicken stock and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Turn down to simmer and cover until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. For dressing, whisk together olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh basil, fresh rosemary, lemon zest, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss cooked quinoa with dressing and adjust seasoning to taste.

This quinoa dish would be great as a side to any salmon dish.

img_20190711_222710-e1562899359801.jpg
Finished quinoa!

References

Rippe, J. M., & Angelopoulos, T. J. (2016). Added sugars and risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. International Journal of Obesity, (S1), 22. https://doi-org.gbcprx01.georgebrown.ca/10.1038/ijo.2016.10

The whole truth about whole grains. (2017, July 18). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/whole-grains/art-20047826

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