24 May 2015

Why I am Giving Up Refined Carbohydrates.

Yes, you read the title right, trust me! 
So, I have been thinking a lot. A lot about everything really; family, studying, friends, Breaking Bad, food. 

I wanted to try something new, to challenge myself. Let's start for 4 weeks and see what happens.

What would happen if I gave up refined carbs, like white bread, sugar etc. I don't eat white bread anyway, only occasional, at a restaurant or cafe for example. However, sugar? That white, sweet substance related to so much press? Apart from my baking, I don't really consume refined sugar, unless some sneaky companies put it into their hummus or yogurts. 

So, my challenge for myself, and anyone else how would like to join me, is to give up refined carbohydrates. Don't worry tough, I will definitely still bake, just "healthier" stuff. 

This means no
  • white flour
  • white rice
  • white pasta
  • white, refined sugar 
  • brown sugars
  • items with added sugar
  • store-bought breads and baked items such as rolls and
  • any type of juice 
Basically any type of refined sugar or starch.

But, I will happily have

  • unprocessed breads, like homemade 100% brown wholewheat bread
  • oats
  • brown pasta
  • brown rice
  • quinoa and other natural grains (not couscous) 
  • pulses and legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • natural forms of sugar, like fruit and vegetables
  • unprocessed honey
  • dried fruit
  • homemade smoothies
  • occasionally no-added sugar dairy products
Basically a whole-food diet 

Sounds good right? I think so!

But Eve, why are you doing this?

Well, the body needs glucose for energy for your cells to respire. However, consuming "pure" glucose, in the form of white carbs, such white pasta, white rice etc, the body as a huge sugar level spike. As the glucose, your body says "oh my gosh, glucose!" and starts to use the glucose straight away. This gives you a "high", the glucose is in sudden abundance therefore the body uses it up quickly.

Eating a diet high in added fructose (not natural fructose) can have an equally bad effect on health. The liver has to metabolise the fructose into glucose and if done so in high quantities (e.g. the standard "unhealthy" western diet), the body turns the fructose into body fat if there is surplus fructose. Lemme stress - THIS ONLY APPLIES ADDED FRUCTOSE, NOT FRUITS AND VEGGIES!!!

Fruit and veg contains a small amount of naturally occurring fructose; this is a minor source of fructose and you would have to eat a crazy amount of fruit and veg to go over a safe limit; 50g per day of fructose is the "upper limit", 1 banana contains 7.6g of naturally occurring fructose. Many fruits contain less fructose than this and ditto for vegetables. 

The body uses up the "pure" glucose quickly; when the blood glucose concentration gets too high liver cells can take in glucose and store it as glucagon for later use.  

However, I think glucose, even though it is important for the bod to function, we shouldn't eat it "naked"; we shouldn't eat foods with added sugar basically or refined carbohydrates in starchy forms etc.

Sugars that occur in fruit and veggies is naturally occurring fructose. Fructose (natural fructose)  has a "low glycemic index or a low GI" as it is paired with the fibre, vitamins and antioxidants and many other health benefits fruits and veggies have. This means it has minimal impact on blood glucose levels, therefore not leading to the "high" energy and then the energy "slump". Lemme stress - THIS ONLY APPLIES TO FRUIT AND VEG - NOT ADDED FRUCTOSE!!!

Foods with a low GI are whole, unprocessed foods, such as my list above of what I will eat.

I hope cutting out the nasty culprits of processed carbs will give me a better lifestyle, physical and mental. Even though I live an active and generally healthy life, I think I could benefit my body even more by doing this, feeding and nourishing it with natural foods. 

note  - I am not a trained dietitian, nutritionist or scientist, and some of my reasoning is probably flawed. This is just a topic that interests me greatly and which I would like to study later in life. I strive to be healthy and lead a good life (with the occasional cake on the side!) 


  1. Go Eve! That is certainly a feat but I'm rooting for you!

    1. Thanks Shelby, I definitely give it a good go!


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