By: Jessica Mattern
When your body has to process a carbohydrate which sugar is a carb, it needs vitamins and minerals to break down the carbohydrate. Lets say we are talking about a piece of candy here, highly refined and processed candy has zero or very little nutritional value. So in order for your body to metabolize the candy it uses stored resources of vitamin B, zinc, magnesium and chromium just to name a few. When you continuously consume sugar and foods with little or no nutritional value you are depleting your cells of vital micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), without adding anything back in. A sweet potato on the other hand is rich in vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, chromium and iron. All the micronutrients your body needs to process this carbohydrate as well as nourish your body by depositing even more nutrients into your cells!
If you are consistently consuming something that is depleting your cells of nutrients you will not have enough fuel for every single cell in your body. This will leave you feeling fatigued and you will experience energy crashes throughout the day. Carbohydrates are a quick source of fuel for the body, they increase energy levels but if you don't balance out your meals with protein, fats and non starchy vegetables you will soon come down from that high, resulting in an afternoon crash or slump.
Our hunger is regulated by hormones! The hormone leptin is known as the satiety hormone, because it notifies your brain if you have eaten enough and if your energy levels are sufficient for bodily needs. When you consume a diet high in processed carbs (bread, pasta, cereal, treats, etc..) and sugar the hormone insulin is chronically elevated. Insulin is released when we eat carbs to allow the glucose aka sugar into our muscles and liver for fuel as well as into our fat cells for storage. Leptin and insulin work together, so when insulin is constantly being secreted, so is leptin. Over time leptin resistance can occur, your brain gets confused when it is full and satiated and when you need more fuel. This can lead to obesity and diabetes.
A diet high in processed carbs and sugar increases inflammation in the body which causes stress and damage to your cells, resulting in pain, swelling and dis-ease. Sugar in the body also decreases your ability to produce white blood cells in order to fight off pathogens. Sugar actually feeds those pathogens: viruses, bacteria, yeast and parasites in your gut. And 80 plus percent of your immune system is located in your gut! Remember that food is medicine, everything you put into your mouth is either helping your body or hurting it.
Stick to real, whole food sources of healthy carbohydrates - the least processed the better! To name a few: sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, ALL fruit, carrots, oatmeal, rice and quinoa. When looking at labels make sure you can read and pronounce everything. If you cannot read it, DO NOT eat it. If you do not know what the ingredient is, guess what… your body also has no idea what it is. This will cause more stress and deplete your body of essential nutrients.
About Dr. Hill
Dr. Lester (Ted) Hill is a licensed Osteopathic physician, an advanced clinical Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner, and the founder of East Liverpool Family Practice.