By Darcie Inouye, Student at UH Manoa
What do fresh strawberries, a can of Arizona Iced Tea, and a bowl of edamame have in common? They are all chock-full of carbohydrates! Carbs are used as your body’s main source of energy. However, not all carbs are created equal. You’ve probably heard them being called “simple” or “complex,” but a better way to view them is by the way they’re digested: fast or slow.
Fast-digesting carbs are processed foods that have been stripped of fiber, like sugars, added sugars, and refined white grains. Some examples of these are candy, sugary beverages, pastries, pasta, and white rice. These carbs have been shown to cause spikes in blood sugar, which can increase your risk of developing diabetes. On top of that, these carbs usually don’t provide much nutrients unless they are enriched, like many white breads.
On the other hand, slow-digesting carbs are whole foods that contain higher amounts of fiber. These kinds of carbs can be found in whole grains, veggies, fruits, and beans. They also have a much better reputation because they make you feel fuller; provide more nutrients; and are associated with having a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Unlike fast-digesting carbs, they have been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels, making them more diabetes-friendly.
So, the next time you order a plate lunch, your body will be thanking you when you choose brown rice instead of white; tossed green salad instead of macaroni salad, and water instead of a Coca-Cola.
Ludwig DS, Hu FB, Tappy L, Brand-Miller J. Dietary carbohydrates: Role of quality and quantity in chronic disease. BMJ. 2018;361. doi:10.1136/bmj.k2340
Reynolds A, Mann J, Cummings J, Winter N, Mete E, Te Morenga L. Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Lancet. 2019;393(10170):434-445. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31809-9
Zazpe I, Santiago S, Gea A, et al. Association between a dietary carbohydrate index and cardiovascular disease in the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016;26(11):1048-1056. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2016.07.002
Welcome to WYAO Hawaii Corporate Wellness,LLC your partner in Wellness System Design. We work side by side, with both your leadership and employees, to articulate and enhance your unique Workplace Wellness System. WYAO Hawaii has an experienced, passionate team to support your company in delivering a successful sustainable results-driven Wellness System connected to your company mission and vision.