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Banana Pancakes

Let's talk about Carbs and Sugar

... Because not all carbohydrates are alike !

Just as we have seen that all fats are not the same, we should also know that all sugars or carbohydrates are not the same, either.

Processed or refined sugars (including high fructose corn syrup, for example) are ingredients included in a wide variety of processed foods, including certain commercial breakfast cereals,  cookies, pastries (cupcakes, etc), candies, ketchup, certain types of granola bars, and non-dietetic soft drinks (sodas), to name just a few.

Serious health problems can occur if we frequently consume soft drinks or “soda pop” which may be high in refined sugars (up to seven teaspoons of sugar per can or bottle) and also contain artificial flavors and colors. 

Different Types of Carbohydrates and their Importance.

Carbohydrates are important nutrients in our diet, as well as an important source of energy. 

There are two types of sugars or carbohydrates including the following:


  1. Simple sugars;

  2. Complex carbohydrates.

Simple Sugars...

Simple sugars like refined or cane sugar are digested rapidly in our body and can cause a rapid increase in glucose levels in our blood.


There are other simple sugars, however, that are not absorbed as quickly as the two previously mentioned, which will be described below.

Fructose is a simple sugar usually found in fresh fruits and vegetables. This sugar is usually not absorbed as quickly as glucose, which is something positive for our health.

When we eat fresh fruits or vegetables, not just their juices, we are actually eating healthy amounts of natural antioxidants, as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals which are necessary for health and wellbeing.

Complex Carbohydrates.

Compared to most simple sugars, complex carbohydrates tend to be digested and absorbed more slowly by our digestive system. For this reason, “sugar” or glucose levels tend to rise more slowly with complex carbohydrates, although there are exceptions that are mentioned below.


Starch is a Complex Carbohydrate...

Starch is a part of many vegetables and is a source of complex carbohydrates. One well-known vegetable which contains starch is the potato. Potatoes are an energy-rich food which you should consume in moderation, because, although starch is a complex carbohydrate, it also may cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly.

If you like potatoes, try to eat them boiled or baked, since frying makes them unhealthy due to the fat content they absorb.

Also, try to avoid adding cream, butter, cheese or margarine to potatoes, since this elevates fat content. Obviously a potato with butter or cheese makes it very tasty, but eating too much can be very unhealthy.

*Health tip:

Replace candy bars, cookies, cakes, and other sweets which are rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, with fresh fruits, different types of nuts and natural yogurt!

Insulin and Carbohydrates.

Insulin is a very important chemical compound (hormone) produced by a very important organ known as the pancreas. Insulin is made in special cells in the pancreas and transported to the blood stream to lower levels of sugars or carbohydrates that we get from our food. This hormone helps sugar (glucose) get inside each one of our cells, so that they can use glucose as a source of energy in order to undertake their complicated functions normally.

The problem occurs when we eat too many foods and drink too many beverages that are rich in sugar, which makes our pancreas release more insulin into the blood, in order to reduce the levels of glucose or sugar in the blood. This does not allow fats to be used adequately in our body. 

For this reason, our pancreas has to work harder and fats tend to accumulate in our body. After a while, this may cause overweight and obesity.

These constant “peaks” and “lows” in the amount of sugar and insulin in our bodies may sometimes cause damage to various organs in our body. For this reason, we should try to eat healthier foods, such as fruits, seeds, fresh vegetables, drink more water, and engage in frequent physical activity.

Insulin and Diabetes.

There are 2 types of diabetes; in type 1, insulin is no longer produced in a gland known as the “pancreas”, while in type 2, insulin has only a limited effect in controlling the levels of “sugar” or  glucose. Many children in the United States and Mexico are currently developing type 2 diabetes due in part to eating large amounts of junk foods rich in processed flours, refined sugars, and bad fats, along with a lack of exercise.

It is Very Important to Be Aware of Your Blood Glucose Levels !

Visit your health care provider and ask him/her to check your blood glucose levels from time to time in order to detect any changes which may indicate you are prone to diabetes.

Knowing your blood glucose levels will help you be aware if levels are too high. Don’t wait for the symptoms of diabetes to appear (constant tiredness, thirst, frequent urination, etc). Many people in both the United States and Mexico are not aware that they have high blood glucose and some of them are diabetics without knowing it.

Having high blood glucose levels is comparable to having a termite infestation in your house, and not being aware of it !


With respect to ourselves, we may not realize that the high levels of glucose are doing serious damage to many parts of our body and we may be only aware of the problem until it is too late!

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