Lets talk Carbs
Out of the 3 types of foods (carbs, protein and fat), carbs are the most important because they are the body’s main source of energy. They can be easily converted to glucose, the body and brain’s main fuel source. One gram of carbs provides 4 calories of energy for the body.

There are 3 types of carbs in foods:
1. Sugars – simple (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides (maltose, sucrose, lactose). They cause rapid increases and decreases in blood sugar.
2. Starches (complex carbs) – help to maintain stable blood sugar levels as they take longer for the body to convert to sugar. Examples include vegetables, whole grains, legumes and root vegetables.
3. Fibre – found in the skins of foods and coverings of ‘whole grains’ (the actual grain itself). Many are indigestible and help to remove waste and toxins properly via the colon. Examples include psyllium, agar and carrageen.

The average American diet is 50% carbs, which would be good if it consisted of good carbs, but most of this intake is from bread, instant oatmeal, cookies, pasta, cake, cereal, white rice or other packaged goods. Sorry, but Wonder bread and cornflakes fit into this category too! These types of carbs are empty and will actually deplete your B vitamins (eg. Chromium) and have a negative impact on your health with respect to blood pressure and diabetes.

How does the body handle carbs?
Carbs are broken down by the digestive system with the help of enzymes into the simple sugars, glucose, fructose and galactose. These then enter the bloodstream via the small intestine, where they travel to the liver. Here the galactose and fructose are converted to glucose for the body’s fuel.

Your liver helps to regulate how much glucose circulates in your bloodstream. If your intake is higher than what’s needed, the liver will convert and store the glucose as glycogen (stored form of glucose). If you don’t have enough glucose in your blood, the liver will convert the glycogen back to glucose and release it in the blood stream. If you consume/have more sugar in your blood than the liver can store, the liver will convert the glucose to triglycerides and fat. This can result in weight gain.

How does this relate to hyper/hypoglycemia and type 2 Diabetes? I’ll try to explain this part as best I can. When you eat a pizza/bread/muffin (mainly refined carbs), your body will convert the carbs to glucose too quickly; therefore raising the amount of sugar in your blood. The body will send a signal (via the hormone Insulin) to lower the level of sugar in the blood. Then when the levels suddenly get too low, the liver releases more glucose into the blood (from the stored glycogen). The next time you eat this way, it happens again. When this type of activity happens repeatedly, the body begins acting like a yo-yo. It becomes tired and won’t be able to maintain blood sugar levels or provide energy to the cells and brain. As a result, the sugar accumulates in the blood stream and urine; you become tired, leading to Hyper/Hypoglycemia and eventually Diabetes. That’s why proper diet is essential!


• Symptoms of hypoglycemia include: sweating, confusion, palpitations, hunger pangs, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, shaking, weakness, numb or tingling lips
• Symptoms of hyperglycemia or diabetes include: fatigue, excessive urination, extreme thirst, constant hunger, eyesight problems, itchy skin, tingling in hands/feet, nausea
• Your diet should consist of 60% complex carbs, 15-20% protein and 20-25% good fats – forget high protein diets
• Too few carbs can result in brain fog

Christine and John Ng

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