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
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.