Carbohydrates: How to Use Them


By Richard Beliveau, Ph.D., and Denis Gingras, Ph.D.

It is easy to avoid blood sugar overloads by simply modifying certain (bad) eating habits.

Drink water instead of sweet drinks and, above all, avoid soft drinks containing large amounts of sugar. Many recent studies indicate that consumption of these drinks is playing a key role in the obesity epidemic currently afflicting the population. In addition, beware of the many “energy” drinks flooding the market. The industry targets adolescents and young adults who don’t understand the harmful consequences of these products. They are nothing but sweetened drinks containing an astronomical amount of caffeine (almost 100 mg per can) – the equivalent of a very strong double espresso. These drinks, which have nothing energizing in them, are just stimulants!

Pay particular attention to breakfast cereals.

Most cereals contain too many simple sugars and not enough complex sugars in the form of fibre. Ideally, a good cereal should have a minimum of 2 g of fibre per portion.
Avoid eating too many products from refined cereals, such as those used to make white bread or other junk food products: These starches rapidly increase the blood sugar level, producing significant amounts of insulin. A growing number of quality products made from whole grains are available in grocery stores. Legumes, still little known, are the ideal replacement solution since they contain complex carbohydrates and are rich in essential nutrients.

Eliminate diet products!
Regularly consuming diet or so-called low-fat foods containing artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose does nothing to alter our habits: On the contrary, research shows that regularly eating these products stimulates the appetite and can lead to weight gain! Recent studies indicate that consuming diet soft drinks increases the risk of metabolic syndrome in the same way that consuming the sweeter versions of these products does. On top of this, a sweet tooth also encourages people to reject more bitter foods (for example, green vegetables and green tea) that in fact offer major health benefits.

Excerpted from Eating Well, Living Well Copyright © 2009 by Richard Béliveau, Ph.D., and Denis Gingras, Ph.D. Translated by Valentina Baslyk. Excerpted by permission of McClelland & Stewart. All rights reserved.