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May 6, 2014

Pro’s and con’s of eating a high carbohydrate diet

by Helene van den Berg

A high carbohydrate diet contain a greater intake of vitamins A, C, foliate, carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium BUT a lower intake of zinc, sodium, B12. This should be taken into account to prevent deficiencies. People on high carbohydrate diets have a lower BMI. They also tend to include foods high in fiber and water content, but low in fat (e.g. fruits, vegetables, grains, reduced-fat dairy products). Less trans-fats and saturated fats are consumed.

In some diseases it’s better to increase carbohydrate consumption e.g. high- carb diets, which avoid gluconeogenesis (formation of glucose from amino acids), tend to slow down hepatitis B and C (these viruses can exploit the process of gluconeogenesis to promote their own replication).

A high-carb diet will also benefit hypothyroidism ( people with low T3 and resulting low glucose utilization, have a conversion problem from T4 in the liver. Taking thyroid hormone supplementation will increase glucose utilization, creating a need to eat more carbs and eating more carbs will raise the T3 levels and increase the thyroid hormone activity.

A 30–40% of energy/600–800 calories on a 2000 – calorie diet is a neutral diet, which places minimal stress on the body and fully meets the body’s actual glucose needs. A 40–50% diet is a carb-overfed diet, which probably promotes fertility and athleticism and enhance mood in some people. A 20–30% diet is a mild carb-restricted diet, which promotes longevity….which would be optimal for most people who desire a long life!.

The main danger with high-carb diets is not paying attention to the kinds of carbohydrates you are consuming, which can result in weight gain. Carbohydrates are easily overeaten and lack essential , healthy fats.

A high carb/low glycemic index diet (GI index under 55) prevents blood sugar fluctuations, keep body weight constant and lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels…. compared to a high carb/high glycemic diet (GI above 70).

Low glycemic index foods are the “complex carbohydrates” like 100% whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, beans, yoghurt, whole wheat pasta and many fruits. These low glycemic index foods reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes and since they help you to feel full, it’s easier to sustain weight loss.

High glycemic index foods tend to be refined carbohydrates, with lots of fat and salt, like white rice, white bread, French fries, baked potato, cold breakfast cereals, fruit juices etc. These foods produce greater fluctuations in blood glucose and require more insulin, which over time compromise the insulin-producing beta cells, contributing to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Eating a high-carb starch diet fills up liver glycogen, removing the most rapid fructose disposal pathway, while a high-carb sucrose diet places stress on the body. On high-starch diets, adrenaline and noradrenaline levels are low; they are almost doubled on the high-sucrose diet.

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