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Healthy Eating
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The Truth About... Carbs BBC1

Coming up on Wednesday is in "the Truth about..." series is Carbs. I have looked at a couple of clips that are available.

The Cracker Test: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p068tc8j tries to show that some people can eat carbs more easily than others, delineating them depending on how much amylase they have in their mouths. I can certainly agree that some people struggle with carbs while others find them easy. However I wonder if the program will go into how the gut naturally adapts over a month (and with some people that change can take a year) or so on a WFPB lifestyle to produce more amylase naturally. (This is why I eat my broccolli raw!) Essentially if you have a history of a high meat low veg lifestyle then your body does not produce much, if any, amylase enzyme.

Blood Sugar Bingo: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p068tc7x shows how little people understand how much sugar they are consuming. Does it say much more? Does it explain the difference between the way the body successfully and properly metabolizes complex carbs vs simple carbs? Meaning that good complex carbs, by and large, no matter how much sugar is in them are good for a healthy person. What frightens me most about this clip is the baked potato drooling in fat! In my book this is how to destroy a truly healthy vegetable.

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Hi Andy,

I am looking forward to watching this programme, and thanks for the head's up. Should be interesting.

Zest :-)

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Anything with "the truth about" in the title always makes me cringe. These things are invariably produced by liberal-arts types who haven't a clue how science looks for truths.

Anyway, how well your body deals with carbs has nothing to do with salivary amylase. That's just a preliminary step converting starches into simple sugars. The actual metabolism of sugars depends on all sorts of things, but principally on how efficiently your body can 'sink' a rapid influx of sugar into various subsystems that can either burn it for energy, or store it.

What exactly do you think is the difference between complex carbs and simple carbs, given that they both present to your small intestine as simple sugars?

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The difference is the speed of presentation of sugars in complex carbs is slowed down because the body first has to break the whole food down before it can access the sugars.

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The speed of digestion is influenced by the type of carbohydrate and its mechanical characteristics, not by whether it is 'complex' or 'simple'. Your "whole plant foods" diet works because the starches present with a lower reactant surface area for hydrolysis, not because they are 'complex'.

Starches in the typical western diet are converted to sugars much faster than they can be used.

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I think we almost agree. I would love to remove the word complex from our lexicon. Removal of refined & processed foods will do so much for good health:

- refined & processed fats & oils

- refined & processed carbs

- refined & processed sugars

Of course that means the local supermarket will not have any ready meals for sale. It means that no longer will salami, bacon and sausages will be available. It means bottled oils will no longer... The same for vegetable fats... No cheap breads... No sweets...

It will also mean hospitals will become significantly empty - apart from A&E.

Oh, and the pharmacuetical industry would shrink.

But hey, who wants a healthy population!

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Very well said there Andy and I totally agree. Also, thank you very much for the links.

:)

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"Anything with "the truth about" in the title always makes me cringe. These things are invariably produced by liberal-arts types who haven't a clue how science looks for truths"

this

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Science looks for truths by making a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis and publishing the results. Good science puts that published result up for scrutiny of peers in what is commonly called peer-reviewed science. This putting science to the test amongst peers is critical to good science. Only then can one move forward on a solid platform. Or do you have a different definition?

Not sure where "liberal arts types" comes into that equation, but I am sure you can enlighten everyone.

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I'm interested in seeing this, I don't seem to digest starchy carbs quickly, I have reduced saliva due to salivary glands atrophied and damaged by chronic inflammation. If I eat bread/ potatoes I can easily choke if I don't have plenty of fat or fluid at the same time, wonder if this is due to reduced amylase?

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Reduced saliva will mean reduced amylase, but your pancreas also produces amylase so that any carbs will be digested. The choking is down to lack of fluid. Any way of stimulating the glands or using artificial saliva?

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Lemon juice gets them going a bit but it's painful for a few seconds! Not keen on the artificial stuff, I'd rather have butter with bread and sandwiches usually contain something like tomatoes, sliced peppers, cucumber or grapes so the juice helps

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I thought the programme was interesting and explained in an easy to understand way how carbs are processed in the body. The categories of carbs and suggested diet swaps made sense although eating toasted frozen bread probably not particularly helpful.

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I was amused by the programs attempt to divide carbs into beige, white and green varieties πŸ™„ I suppose this approach might help some people to understand that some carbs are good and others bad. The overall approach taken seemed to be classic dumbed down science unfortunately.

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For people on this healthy eating forum it may have been preaching to the converted but if you are starting from scratch, trying to lose weight with little healthy eating knowledge I thought on the whole it gave some sensible advice about eating food you've made yourself with more veg and fruit, less processed carbs. Notice it mentioned that GP's will be giving the same advice, all got to be a good thing.

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You're probably quite right. And yes it has to be a good thing.

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Dumbed down science sums it up.

1. The claim (totally unjustified and just thrown out as an aside) that "or you can go to work on an egg. Eggs are no longer considered bad for us..." leaves me squirming. How dare a program like this just throw out such a claim without justification is beyond me. From where I stand the non-egg industry research is very clear, very comprehensive and done over decades. So how this program can simply ignore that weight of evidence as if it no longer existed... Previously in the program he advocating lots of fibre, which an egg simply has none of.

2. It presents a box of tricks as if that's much of what one needs to do. For instance freezing bread to create resistant starch. Yes, a useful trick for someone wanting a slice of wholemeal toast, but not as important as eating that bread in context of a healthy meal rather than as vehicle to get a fat, salt or sugar-rush.

3. And when it comes to telling the guinea pigs from Liverpool they can roughly continue eating the same way they have. I have no doubt the guine pigs will lose weight. That is what LCHF does so well. Thus their risk of diabetes will be reduced and hopefully managed. But encouranging people to eat more cholesterol and more saturated fats is proven to be far from good for long term health. In later life these people are increasing their likelyhood of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and many more chronic illnesses. The program sums up its experiment as a 2 week miracle.

Most everyone knows here that I am the very opposite of a low-carb fan. There is some good information in this program but it melds this with bad information pretending to be backed by science. The difficulty for the average person watching this is differentiating one from the other.

The program's closing comment about eating fats "and it doesn't have to cost a fortune" ignores that extra virgin oilive oil is a premium priced product. It ignores the subsidies that keep factory farms providing cheap meat. Here is Friends of the Earth analysis (PDF) friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/...

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I'm not a very low carb fan either, but demonising natural fat rhetoric is at best a red herring.

Excess insulin is the major driver of chronic illness.

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As I always say go with the science... ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/184... entitled "Fatty acids and glucolipotoxicity in the pathogenesis of Type 2 diabetes."

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The article is 10 years old, more recent research has come to different conclusions.

drc.bmj.com/content/5/1/e00...

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The same article has requested more information at drc.bmj.com/content/5/1/e00... arguing at least a discrepancy in the conclusions from the results. To quote, "the control intervention was slightly but not significantly superior." This is not the only issue with the meta-analysis.

This is what I love about a good review process.

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There is a review of this TV program on the Spectator website at health.spectator.co.uk/the-...

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diabetes.co.uk/diet/low-car...

Seems to be gaining ground.

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The complex carb idea is well out of date. The WHO have said the classification isn't appropriate glycemicindex.com/about.pup

The Glycaemic index has disproved the theory since the early 1980s.

NICE guidance includes Gi since 2009.

2015 Type 2 guidelines say carb intake should be tailored to the individual.

Now we need the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to be recognised as healthy eating guidelines and available to all.

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Are you arguing that eating a slices of refined white bread, day in day out, has exactly the same effect on the body as a slice of wholewheat bread?

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No. Neither is the difference between the two in terms of its effect on the body"s hormones/blood glucose necessarily marked. When wholemeal has been through a threshing machine, the reduction in particle size negates any effect of insoluble fibre on the speed of absorption phcuk.org/sugar

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Please explain the outcomes of this piece of research ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/228... which shows that ADDING berries (ie more fructose) to women drinking three tablespoons of a sugary drink not only STOPPED a sugary spike but also slowed the abosorbtion of glucose?

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There is more to life that glycemic risks, assuming your insulin is performing well. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/193... compared eating NOTHING to icerberg lettuce & white potatoes and decided that neither had much food value and that actually your outcomes are better to avoid both. However on the other side of the coin determined eating non-fried potatoes increased cancer risk by 50%, as did eating the white bread. However to put it into context eating meat increased cancer risk by 400%, whereas dark green leafy vegetables CUT the cancer risk in half.

I am not saying insulin is not important, it is indeed critical. But we also need to look at the bigger picture. We don't want to swap one problem with another.

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I agree. A 2015 study established that the USA now has 50% of the population with pre-diabetes/diabetes. Dr. Kraft asserted 3/4 of his patients tested with abnormal insulin, what he referred to as diabetes in situ; insulin resistance.

Compare that with the saturated fat theory. The last nutrition survey by the FSA found we eat only 1% more than is recommended.

The evidence means our priorities need to change.

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There is no use for fructose in the body, so when eaten it goes straight to the liver for processing. That gives fructose a very low Gi. That doesn't make it healthy though as fructose glcosylates haemoglobin seven times as much as glucose.

So this will smooth the delivery curve of glucose (as does a balanced meal including a little protein and natural fat).

Personally I keep to low Gi carbs , avoiding the highs and lows of insulin; the glucose level is a response to this hormone.

Reducing the fat in dairy and from meat has also been shown to raise the insulin load stimulated, as does processing as with baked beans for example.

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