Carbs: What Exactly Are They?
Carbohydrates (carbs) are a macronutrient found in things like starches, grains and foods high in sugar. This includes, but isn’t limited to, bread, flour, rice, pasta, beans, potatoes, sugar, syrup, cereals, fruits, bagels and soda.
Carbs are broken down into glucose (a type of sugar) in our bodies for energy. Eating any kinds of carbs spikes blood sugar levels. The spike may happen faster or slower depending on the type of carb (simple or complex), but the spike will still happen.
Blood sugar spikes cause strong insulin releases to combat the spikes. Constant insulin releases result in fat storage and insulin resistance. After many years, this cycle commonly leads to prediabetes, metabolic syndrome and even type 2 diabetes9.
In a world full of sugar, cereal, pasta, burgers, French fries and large sodas, you can see how carbs can easily be overconsumed.
Where We Are Today
According to the 2014 report by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. (86 million people) have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose is always high and commonly leads to type 2 diabetes and many other medical problems10.
Today, almost 1 in 10 people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes compared to almost 1 in 40 in 1980. Fat has been blamed as the bad guy and companies have been creating low-fat and fat-free, chemically-laden alternatives of nearly every type of food in existence, yet obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates are still increasing.
Nearly 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. has type 2 diabetes, almost 4 times more than 30 years ago.
Fat is Making a Comeback
We’re starting to understand that carbs in large quantities are much more harmful than previously thought, while most fats are healthy and essential.
The nutritional landscape is changing. Ketogenic diet and low carb diet groups, as well as similar dietary groups like paleo, are growing and a nutritional revolution is beginning. We are starting to realize the detrimental effects of our relationship with excess sugar and carbs.