How can too much sweet and starchy food affect your health?
Hi there and welcome to the latest edition of Optimal Health for Life.
Too much Sweet Food
Last time you will recall that I talked about sweet foods and their addictive quality. Yes you can actually become a sweet food addict. You can become so used to the pleasurable effects of eating and drinking sweet things that anything that isn’t very sweet can seem like a disappointment.
So, why should an over reliance on sweet and starchy food be a concern to you?
One of the major health concerns in becoming overly reliant on sweet and starch based food along with sugar leaden beverages is the risk of becoming insulin resistant.
Some of the key features of Insulin Resistance Syndrome include weight gain, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol level, a heightened state of inflammation in the body, an increased tendency for blood to clot, food cravings, mood swings, type 2 diabetes and the onset of heart disease.
Before a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or heart disease this syndrome has been at work in their body, gradually moving through several stages from mild to severe.
What is Insulin Resistance Syndrome?
Your pancreas is an organ in your body that is responsible for producing the hormone insulin. Your pancreas releases insulin into your blood stream in response to the sugar and starch in the foods and beverages that you consume.
As your blood sugar level increases, your pancreas responds by producing enough insulin to transport that blood sugar from the blood stream into your muscle and brain cells where it is used for fuel.
If your diet is healthy and Balanced, your pancreas will do it’s job quite happily. However, your pancreas can become exhausted if it has been requested to overproduce insulin in response to your blood sugar level over and over again, year in and year out.
An exhausted pancreas will refuse to produce enough or indeed any insulin at all. This ‘exhausted pancreas state’ is known as type 2 diabetes. This condition has very serious health consequences and although it is manageable, it is not reversible.
Sugar Starch and Carbohydrates
Let’s clear up any confusion about sugar and starch.
Sugar and starch are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important nutrients and fuel for your body. Starch is referred to as a complex sugar because it is made up of many simple sugar molecules. Sugar that tastes sweet such as table sugar is known as simple sugar. Starch doesn’t taste sweet like simple sugar does but it sure has an impact on your insulin level.
If you eat lots of rice, pasta, white potatoes and legumes then you are eating starch. These foods are all good for you but make sure they are part of a balanced diet, and that they actually agree with you.
If after you’ve eaten these types of starchy foods you soon feel hungry again, then consider reducing the amount of these foods you eat and increase your non starch based vegetable intake. Most green vegetables fall into this category.
White Rice is High in Starch
We are not all genetically identical so don’t be surprised if you can’t eat the same foods as your friends can with out certain consequences such as putting on weight for example.
If you don’t put sugar in your coffee any more but you eat lots of starch based foods in an unbalanced way then you can still end up knocking on the door of insulin resistance. You not only need to address the amount of sugar in your diet but starch as well.
Enjoy your carbohydrates, your sweet and starchy foods but always keep your diet in a balanced perspective. The consequences of not doing so can lead to unnecessary disease and a lifetime of reliance on expensive health care procedures, pharmaceutical drugs and a reduced lifespan.
Next time I’ll discuss the role of carbohydrates in weight gain.
Until then, I wish you all the best in vibrant health!
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Andrew Large has spent in excess of twenty years in the health care industry mostly as part of a Cardiology based diagnostic team. Andrew runs his own website at
http://www.coronary-heart-health.com where you can learn more about heart disease, heart health, weight control and nutrition.
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