Carbohydrates: Fast And Slow

Without them, our bodies are not able to process fats and proteins, and our liver does not function normally. Carbohydrates are digested in the form of glucose by the main “sweet tooth”, which simply refuses all the rest, which is our brain.Eat carbohydrate-rich foods for breakfast and lunch. In the afternoon, carbohydrate metabolism tends to slow down. It is preferred to have protein dinners.

Imagine the nutrition pyramid, a schematic representation of the principles of a healthy nutrition, designed by nutritionists. The closer to the top, the less it is necessary to consume this group of products.

The “foundation” of the pyramid is made of products that should be eaten most often:

  • vegetables,
  • fruits,
  • whole grains. 

They should account for about 65% of the total diet. But this does not mean that you just received a permission to consume buns and cheese cakes in countless amounts.

Even if the pack of pastries is labeled with the coveted “low-calorie product” sign, do not rush to hurry with the purchase! As a rule, this is nothing more than a marketing trick by the manufacturer.


1. Firstly, it is unlikely that trans fats weren’t used in their production.
2. Secondly, you should always remember the most conventional caloric value of fresh cucumbers – 11 kcal per 100 grams – to compare them to the caloric value of other foods.

So, does a cake with a caloric value of 350 kcal per 100 grams still sound as a low-calorie product?

  • All carbohydrates are traditionally divided into fast and slow, depending on the speed of their breakdown in the body and conversion into glucose. To measure this rate, a special indicator was introduced, which is the glycemic index (GI).

Slow (with a low GI) carbohydrates are useful.

You can eat them every day:

Foods with a low GI (less than 40)

  1. All legumes, including lentils, soya, white and red beans, chickpeas, baked beans.
  2. Barley, whole wheat pasta.
  3. Apples, apricots, peaches, cherries, grapefruit, plums, oranges, pears.
  4. Avocado, zucchini, spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, leafy greens, leeks, green beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes.
  • Brown rice
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Pasta
  • Whole grain flour
  • Cereals (except semolina)
  • Vegetables (zucchini, spinach, cabbage)
  • Non-sweet fruit, like apples, kiwi, grapefruit

Carbohydrates with a low GI gradually increase blood glucose level, which prevents sudden changes in blood sugar and “unmotivated” mood racing. In short, if you want to be calm and balanced, choose the “slow” carbohydrates.

The principle of “sometimes it’s better to chew than to talk” is quite relevant for this part of our nutrition. The fact is that the digestion of slow carbohydrate begins with an enzyme found in saliva.

Fast carbohydrates (with a high GI), alas, are not so useful. They, of course, are not poison, but you should also refrain from consuming them every day (this group of carbohydrates also includes alcohol).

The best option is to consider all kinds of desserts, pastries, etc. “festive” food. Eating this way, we not only watch our weight, but also help our body. Our pancreas that produces insulin, simply faints from excessive loads, whenever we eat such food.

And your blood sugar jumps, just like rabbits in spring – up and down. And our mood “jumps” along with it.

If you got on the protein diet in winter, do not be surprised if you constantly feel depressed, gloomy and irritable. Carbohydrates in cold weather are a source of additional stimulation of serotonin, which is the hormone of good mood.

Foods with a high GI (more than 60)

  1. Glucose, sugar, honey, pineapple, raisins, watermelon, ripe bananas.
  2. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips, boiled carrots, pumpkin, turnip.
  3. Brown and white rice (other than basmati), rye bread, whole grain bread, white bread, rice cookies, couscous, bread sticks.
  4. Corn flakes, instant oatmeal, corn curles, wheat crackers, pancakes, sweet cakes.
  5. Melon, dried figs.

There are two more kinds of carbohydrate foods that deserve a special attention of every person that is watching his health.


The fashionable phrase “dietary fiber” hides simple edible fibers, which are a type of carbohydrate. Fiber comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble.

Soluble (e.g., pectin, which is found in apples and pears) slows digestion and decreases blood cholesterol levels.

Insoluble (e.g., grain husks) is not absorbed by the human digestive system, and is excreted undigested from the body. Its consumption reduces the likelihood of developing such diseases as colon cancer, as well as constipation.


The food of animal origin (fish, meat) does not contain fiber! It is the prerogative of plant food. Sources of fiber are vegetables, fruits and cereals (wheat and oats).

Fiber not only improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, but also indirectly improves the fat (lipid) metabolism. Complete rejection of fiber can lead to intestinal atrophy.


The food industry has learned to make sugar so “clean” that white sugar – refined sugar – alas, has nothing left except calories. Its real “competitor” by the lack of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) is only the semolina.

Yet, hardly any of us in adult life regularly eat it. Yet, there plenty of those, who drink tea or coffee with sugar. Sugar accelerates the removal of calcium from the body, so sweet tooth risk not only to gain excess weight, but also to get osteoporosis.

Stop justifying your attraction to sweets by the fact that your “head stops working” without it, because sugar is not the only product, from which your body can extract glucose. Fruits with a natural sweetness are not a bit worse!

If you absolutely can not survive without sweets, you can replace refined sugar, depending on your preferences, with:

  • brown sugar (the darker the color, the less processed the product is)
  • honey
  • marshmallows or marmalade.

Remember, nutritionists do not recommend eating more than 30-35 kilograms of sugar per year. You would think that this is too much? Do not forget to consider all sugar (other than the sweets, it is found literally in all “light yogurts”, croutons and the vast majority of semi-finished products, including the so-called “Korean” salad). 

Particularly noteworthy are packed juices, which very often are not juices but the nectars. As a rule, they are on the same shelf with the juices, in a mixed pattern. The word “nectar” is a signal that the producers felt the lack of natural sweetness of fruit, and added sugar.