Diabetes Info

The Various Types Of Carbs

some carbs
Carbs are vital to our health.

They supply our bodies with energy. Carbs are compounds that are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio of 1:2:1. There are different types of carbs and some forms are more beneficial to our health than others. Carbohydrates can be classified into simple and complex carbs, whole grain starches and fibers.

Simple and complex carbs differ in their structure and the speed of their digestion and absorption.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple sugars are the simplest forms of carbs. They are easily absorbed and can quickly supply the body with energy. They include monosaccharides and disaccharides. Monosaccharides are formed of one unit of sugar. They are usually referred to as sugars. They include glucose, galactose and fructose. Disaccharides consist of 2 sugar units such as lactose (found in milk) and sucrose. Simple sugars are naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk which also have other nutrients.

Eating foods to which simple sugars are added leads to a quick rise in the sugar level in the blood. Insulin is quickly released to bring the sugar level in the blood back to normal and leads to fat storage. If our food intake is greater that the calories burned, this can result in weight gain and can increase the risk of cancer and type-2 diabetes. It is recommended to reduce the consumption of simple sugars and to use complex sugars instead (such as whole grains).

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) consist of 3 or more sugars in a chain. They take longer to break down and digest. They include starches and fibers. They also include the refined starches that have been processed. During processing, the germ and bran are removed from these carbohydrates.

Refined starches include white bread, white pasta, white rice and white flour. Most of the nutrients have been lost during processing. Low-fiber diets with the consumption of refined starches were found to be among the leading causes of type-2 diabetes that is increasing at epidemic rates.

Whole Grains And Fibers

On the other hand, unrefined carbs (or whole grains) are packed with nutrients. They contain fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. They are better dietary options than refined carbs. They include brown bread, whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pasta. Fibers are considered complex carbohydrates.

However, they are not digested and absorbed. They absorb water and make the stools softer. Fibers increase the bulkiness of stools and make them easier to pass. This protects from constipation and hemorrhoids. Fibers can be found in oatmeal, nuts, popcorn and in many vegetables and fruits.

Fibers and whole grains stay for a longer time in your stomach and so you feel fuller. They also don’t cause the rapid rise in the blood sugar level as that caused by simple sugars. Therefore, they were found to protect from heart disease and diabetes.

It is recommended that the daily carbohydrate intake should form 45% to 65% of the total calories consumed. You can refer to the Nutrition Facts label to determine the carbohydrate content of any food product. Some Nutrition Facts label also give the amounts of the different types of carbohydrates found in the product.

It is recommended to choose whole-grains as well as high-fiber food. Eating sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables daily can give the body the needed carbs. It is also suggested to avoid foods and drinks to which sugar was added in large amounts. It is also better to avoid refined carbs.

Establishing a healthy lifestyle where we choose the best carbs is an essential step for a better health. It can take time and some practice to choose the right carbs and to know how to incorporate them in our daily diet. However, that will protect your body in the long run from serious diseases.

Can Diabetes Lead To Dementia

There is a myriad of medical conditions that go with old age, and dementia is probably one of the scariest of them all.

It is terrifying that for people age 60 and above, one in six seniors have dementia. With impaired cognitive functions, spatial awareness, language and memory loss can be problems associated with it.

There are many treatments available out there, but often times these have little effects on the individual as it is too late once your brain has been severely altered already.

With a condition terrifying such as this, the only thing we can do is prevent the onset of this ailment as early as possible. In particular are people suffering from type-2 diabetes more at risk?

Recent research was conducted on 2 million individuals’ GP records checking their body mass index (BMI) from middle age to old age. Findings say that those diagnosed with dementia actually have low body mass index. These findings only tell us that there is a contradiction on the hypothesis that the likelihood of getting dementia increases when an individual is obese.

However Deborah Gustafson, an epidemiologist in State University New York says that the design used on the study mentioned above was flawed because the time frame as to when the BMI was recorded was inconsistent and did not coincide with the dates on when these subjects got diagnosed with dementia.

According to Gustafson, BMI and dementia have a complicated relationship. Aside from our genes being a factor of this condition, a higher BMI during the ages 30 to 60 increases the risk of developing dementia later on. To put this in a clearer perspective, it is healthier to be neither obese nor underweight.

The director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society says that there is evidence-based strategies in delaying the onset or preventing dementia. According to Dr. Doug Brown, looking after your heart health, diet, and exercise are the three secrets in preventing this condition from occurring. A study following 3000 individuals in the course of 35 years showed that regular exercise or even taking as little as a 30-minute walk can already help reduce the risk.

15 to 20 years before you will see clinical symptoms, dementia may already have started to take over. Early intervention is a good way for preventing this condition. It has been determineed that unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause the early onset and therefore, pre-diabetic conditions, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can be the signs that you need to take action early on to avoid getting it later. A healthy diet and regular exercise routine has been found to improve cognitive functions among midlife adults.

Try to stay on top of your vascular condition as well. This will not only help you keep a healthier body, it also delays other age-related conditions that you might need to face if you did not take care of your health. According to Gustafson, educating yourself about how to take blood pressure will help you to stay cognizant in preventing high cholesterol levels and diabetes. Smoking also increases the risk of dementia, and according to scientific studies, smokers have a 45% higher risk. The more you smoke, the higher this percentage increases.

Educating yourself as early as possible is one of the keys in preventing dementia too. Aside from the knowledge you get about how to prevent and manage this disease, you also activate your cognitive abilities as you learn new information.

Educating and learning new things is the exercise your brain needs to stay alert. The more you keep it active, the more it prevents dementia. Exercising your body is also important to keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and weight at normal levels. You should also be strict with your diet.

A diet high in cereals, vegetables, fruit and fish may lower the risk of dementia and other vascular diseases. Eating foods rich in vitamins B6, B12, A, C, E, omega-3 and folic acid is a must. But eating a plate of fish drizzled in olive oil and tomatoes is healthier than drinking a bucket of vitamins.