Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Until 30 year ago, most doctors felt that insulin was a good hormone 
and the more you have, the healthier you are. Then Gerald Reaven of 
Stanford showed that people with high insulin levels are at high 
risk for heart attacks because insulin constricts arteries to block 
those leading to the heart. Further research shows that insulin also 
is a fat hormone because it affects your hypothalamus in your brain 
to make you hungry, your liver to make more fat, and the fat cells 
in your belly to take up the fat, which makes you fat. 

Then in 1978, research showed that certain foods raise insulin more 
than others and foods can be classified by how high they raise blood 
sugar levels in comparison to eating pure refined sugar. When you 
eat, your blood sugar level rises and the higher blood sugar levels 
rise, the more insulin your pancreas releases to help lower sugar 
levels. So, what you eat is very important because foods that raise 
blood sugar levels the most are the ones most likely to raise blood 
insulin levels and increase your risk for a heart attack.

Carbohydrates are chains of sugar molecules lined in a row. They are 
found in all plants and foods made from plants such a bakery 
products and pastas. Carbohydrates can be a single sugar, two sugars 
bound together, three or four sugars. Thousands of sugars bound 
together are called starch, and millions of sugars bound together so 
tightly that you cannot break them down are called fiber. Only 
single sugars can pass from your intestines into your blood stream. 

When you eat food that contains starch, your intestines release 
enzymes that knock off the end sugar and it is absorbed immediately. 
You continually knock off end sugars rapidly and they are absorbed 
almost immediately. All simple sugars and starches that are broken 
down rapidly go into the bloodstream rapidly to cause a high rise in 
blood sugar. Resistant starches contain long chains of sugars that 
cannot release their end sugars, so they can't be absorbed and pass 
to the intestines where they are broken down to be converted into 
fatty acids that help prevent colon cancer and heart attacks. 

That's why you want to eat carbohydrates that release their sugars 
slowly and restrict carbohydrates that release sugars rapidly. The 
easier it is to break carbohydrates down into single sugars, the 
higher your blood sugar level rises and the more insulin you 
produce, which constricts arteries and increases your risk for a 
heart attack. 

The most healthful carbohydrates are those left with fiber where 
nature puts it in seeds, nuts, beans, whole grains and vegetables. 
The most dangerous carbohydrates for diabetics and people who are 
trying to lose weight are foods made from flour, white rice or 
milled corn; or with added sugars. 

The best carbohydrates are those that have a tight capsule that 
releases carbohydrates slowly such as whole grains such as kamut, 
wheat berries, rye berries, oat groats, quinoa, spelt, buckwheat, 
and so forth; vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts. 

Root vegetables contain stored sugar and cause a high rise in blood 
sugar levels, but they contain so many healthful nutrients that you 
need them to be healthy. So potatoes, carrots and beets can be eaten 
safely with other foods to slow absorption. For example, eating a 
potato with a piece of fish slows absorption of the sugars. The same 
applies to fruits,. When you eat fruit with a vegetable salad, the 
sugar is absorbed slowly. When you eat the fruit alone, blood sugar 
levels rise quickly.

The most healthful way to eat is to leave nature alone. Eat 
carbohydrates the way nature packages them without first grinding 
them into very small pieces or squeezing them into juices that 
remove their fiber. 

Checked 5/3/07