If you were to read the nutrition labels of most processed food products, you might find that refined sugars and grains top the ingredients list more often than not. The problem is, these refined carbohydrates provide little to no nutritional value. In fact, consuming too many refined carbohydrates has been shown in studies to cause obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Perhaps a more accurate nutrition label should include a warning: overconsumption of this product may cause multiple health problems, even death.
Fortunately, you have a choice. You can say “no” to the countless nutrition-less “food-like” products and instead choose whole-food energy sources. “Whole foods … provide critical nutrients whereas refined grains are not only void of nutrients, they set your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride.
Probably the greatest health issue facing modern humans today is obesity. More people are overweight than ever as the consumption of increasingly common processed foods continues to grow. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, the highest percentage in our history.
So how did this get started and why is this happening? A large contributor to the problem is our continuing shift from whole grains to refined carbohydrates, specifically refined flour. Humans have been refining grains since at least the Industrial Revolution, favoring white flour and white rice even at the price of lost nutrients. Refining grains extends their shelf life, precisely because it renders them less nutritious to pests, and makes them easier to digest by removing the fiber that ordinarily slows the release of their sugars.
The fiber that would otherwise slow sugar absorption is destroyed as a by-product of food processing. For example, refining corn into sweetener makes it instantly digestible. High fructose corn syrup effectively becomes glucose, which is essentially predigested food. How stomach turning is that? Eating bread made with refined flour or drinking a cola is just a small step away from injecting glucose straight into your blood stream.
As far as sugar goes, there is no point in arguing the difference between high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, commonly known as table sugar. They’re equally bad; they’re both poison in high doses. Sugar both drives fat storage and makes the brain think it’s hungry, setting up a vicious cycle.
Calorie for calorie, sugar causes more insulin resistance in the liver than other foods. Consuming sugar elevates blood glucose levels, then the pancreas has to release more insulin to satisfy the liver’s needs. Heart disease and other health problems will continue to grow as long as the shift towards eating more refined flour and sugar-laden foods continues.
Whole Foods Are Best
Humans are not biologically hardwired to deal with refined carbohydrates. We are however, perfectly designed to digest and extract nutrients from whole-food energy sources, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. We have been genetically programmed to consume whole foods because whole foods deliver micronutrients that are critical for keeping the body alive and healthy with sustained energy.
In the case of chronic sugar consumption, the body gets confused and insulin production increases, causing too much glucose to be stored as fat. The sugar keeps circulating (in the body), resulting in insulin resistance and inflammation (the core cause of most disease), illness, weight gain and faster aging.
However, when we eat whole foods, there is a gradual release of glucose due to the fiber and micronutrient compounds. Eating whole foods helps to minimize inflammatory health issues.