Biology in the Modern World
The Effect of Processed Carboydrates on the Human Body Your body requires more carbohydrates than any other nutrient. Carbohydrates are the main component in the process that allows our bodies to create energy necessary for everything from everyday activities like walking and talking, to fueling the body to climb Mt. Everest. The issue to be discussed is the kinds of carbohydrates humans are eating and how the right versus the wrong ones can have a huge effect on the length and quality of your life. The carbohydrates that are involved are processed breads, flours, and sugars. A perfect example of this is white versus brown rice. White rice is simply brown rice with the germ, which contains all of the necessary nutrients, removed. In sum you are getting the carbs without any other nutritional value. However, the danger really lies in processed sugar. The glycemic index, as well as how processed carbohydrates effect insulin resitance and weight gain can explain the dangers of a diet high in these kinds of foods. (August McLaughlin, Demand Media)
In order to understand how processed carbohydrates effect the body differently than unprocessed ones, one must be familiar with the gylcemic index. The glycemic index is a scale from 1 to 100 that ranks carbohydrates on the rate that they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in quick fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, because of their slow digestion and absorption, result in gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. The research into the glycemic index of foods has been getting more and more extensive in recent years. Some countries have even begun to put the glycemic number of every packaged food on the labels. The effect of processed versus unprocessed foods on our blood sugar can be represented on graph and it can be shocking.
(The University of Sydney)
Insulin is a hormone your body releases to allow your cells to absorb blood sugar for storage or energy. The more processed carbohydrates in the diet, the greater impact they have on your blood sugar and insulin levels. As your insulin levels rise, your body can become resistant to the hormone, resulting in long-lasting effect of high blood sugar and insulin levels after eating. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, cause complications related to type 1 diabetes and a variety of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and even some types of cancer. A study was outlined in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition after there was some debate over whether or not the change in the quality of carbohydrates really effected the increasing rate of type 2 diabetes in Americans. The conclusion of this study was as follows, "Our analysis confirmed that during the past century, especially the past 20 y, the American diet has undergone a dramatic change. Furthermore, our data indicate that, during the same period, type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, exerting a substantial health burden on society. These population-level data are consistent with findings from metabolic and prospective studies of individual persons, which suggest that the intake of refined carbohydrates increases the risk of obesity, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes may be reduced by replacing refined carbohydrates with low-GI carbohydrate sources and whole-grain, high-fiber products."(Lee S Gross, Li Li, Earl S Ford, and Simin Liu). It seems as though the society in which we live has sacrificed the quality of the food we ingest, and in turn sacrificed our health and the quality of the