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Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber

Dietary carbohydrates play a central role in human nutrition because they provide the primary source for the energy we need to fuel bodily functions. Carbohydrates are classified into two basic groups: simple and complex. Most dietary fiber is composed of indigestible carbohydrates, so fiber and related compounds are discussed as well.

Many in the medical and research communities now believe that excessive consumption of carbohydrates, specifically, carbohydrates that have been refined and stripped of their supportive nutrients, is a major contributing factor to a wide variety of diseases and premature aging. Virtually all of the fiber, phytochemical, vitamin, and trace element content have been removed from white sugar, white breads and pastries, and many breakfast cereals. Even the natural simple sugars in fruits and vegetables have an advantage over sucrose (white sugar) and other refined sugars in that they are balanced by fiber and a wide range of nutrients that aid in the utilization of the sugars.

Eating too many carbohydrates, particularly simple sugars, can be harmful to blood sugar control, especially if you are insulin resistant, experience reactive hypoglycemia or are diabetic. Carbohydrate excess, especially consuming too many refined carbohydrates, is also associated with increased risk for obesity, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber