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Should You Really be Afraid of Carbs?

You would have to live under a rock not to hear about “low carb” diets. Then there are Paleo and Keto diets which are basically NO carb diets.  Special diets aside, nutritionists recommend avoiding “refined carbohydrates”.  What’s going on?  And look at all those carbs in Yumbini!  Yikes!  Should you be worried?

First, let’s take a step back.  What are “carbs” anyway?  “Carbs” is short for “carbohydrate”.  Carbohydrates are one of the main (“macro”) nutrients in food (others being protein, and fat).  But it gets more complicated.  

Starch/”complex carbs”, dietary fiber and “simple sugars” are ALL considered carbohydrates.  Of these three, it is the “simple sugars”, specifically fructose, that we need to avoid.  Fructose is in sugar, brown sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, liquid sugar, and…well you get the idea.  Eating too much sugar is associated with obesity, diabetes and heart and liver disease.  This is why “added sugars” is included in the nutrition facts panel.  But what about fruit?  It contains fructose, right?  Yes it does, but in fruit, nature combines fructose with vitamins, minerals and fiber, balancing out the negative effects of the sugar.

So this first part about carbs is easy.  Sugar = bad.  Whole fruits and vegetables = good.  (By the way, Yumbini has NO added sugar.  Cowboy BBQ is slightly sweeted with dried apples.)

So what about the other kinds of carbohydrates: fiber and starch?  I hope you know by now that fiber is good for you!  Fiber is food for the microbes in your gut.  If they are happy you are happy!  It is important to remember that fiber ONLY comes from plants: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes/beans.  Americans don’t get enough fiber so it is important to eat as much of these plant foods as possible.

So carb #2, Fiber = good, VERY good.  (Yumbini is packed with fiber – 7-9 grams per serving, up to 32% of your daily value!)

Okay what about the last category of carbohydrates: starches and so-called “complex carbohydrates”?  Starches and  fiber, are both long chains of the simple sugar glucose connected together.  The difference between starch and fiber is that starch can be digested/broken down into glucose by your body, but fiber can only be broken down by the microbes in your gut.  In either case, glucose is the main source of energy for your entire body.  In fact, your brain operates exclusively on glucose

But glucose is a simple sugar, so is it possible to eat too much?  Research indicates that eating even pure glucose has a “neutral” effect on the body compared to the “evil sugar” fructose.  So why do you hear nutrition advice against eating “white carbs” like white bread and tortillas?  Because with white flour and refined grains, the fiber has been removed.  (Remember lesson #2 above: fiber = good!  No fiber = bad!)

So starch = good fuel for body and brain as long as it comes with plenty of fiber!  ( PS: Yumbini is packed with FIBER!)

So I hope you are no longer worried about the carbohydrates in Yumbini.  But, just in case you are wondering about sugar spikes and glucose monitors and diabetics, we have that covered too.  Read about it in our next blog: Yumbini Takes on the Glucose Challenge!

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