Carbohydrates, Enzymes and Bacteria

carbohydrates     The smallest molecule of a carbohydrate is a type of sugar called glucose.  This glucose provides the fuel for all body tissues and functions.

There are 2 types of food carbohydrates:

1.  Simple Carbohydrates

*These enter the bloodstream quickly and cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

*They also provide instant, but not sustained, energy (quick boost, then crash)

*Some examples are sugar, sweets, baked goods, some fruits and vegetables, honey, milk, dairy products, refined and processed foods, soda pop, juice, alcohol, white flour products (bread, donuts).

2.  Complex Carbohydrates

*It take time for your digestive process to break these down.

*They remain in your intestinal tract for a much longer time than simple carbohydrates.

*They release glucose slowly into your bloodstream as they are broken down.

*They don’t cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels.

*And they provide sustained energy for longer periods.

*Examples are potatoes, yams, whole grain products, many vegetables, and legumes.

Sources of blood glucose (sugar):

1.  Eating carbohydrates.  (A glycemic index chart lists foods according to their effect on blood sugar levels.)

2.  Your body’s glucose reserves, called glycogen.

Your liver plays a major role in keeping your blood sugar levels steady by taking the extra glucose from your blood and storing it as glycogen or putting stored glycogen back into your bloodstream when it’s needed.

Your pancreas secretes insulin when your blood sugar rises.  This tells your liver to take in more glucose to keep your blood sugar level normal.

Your brain needs a continuous supply of glucose to function.  Your brain can’t rely on other energy sources, like fats or protein, like the other tissues in your body.


Enzymes are your body’s work force.  Your body itself makes lots of enzymes.  Every reaction in your body needs the correct enzyme to make it work.  Think of it this way.  You have all the building supplies present at the job site, but nothing actually gets built until the workers (enzymes) show up to do the job.

Why do we need enzymes?  Enzymes act as catalysts in ALL biochemical reactions.  Nothing happens in your body without the correct enzyme present to activate the reaction.  Each enzyme has a specific function and is very specialized.


It is crucial to health to have the right balance of good and bad bacteria in our system.  This is called the microflora in the gut.  The good bacteria are called probiotics.

Why do we need probiotics?

Probiotics perform many functions in your gut, including controlling the bad bacteria.  The microflora balance in your gut is an extremely important part of your immune system.  Antibiotics severely upset this balance.  Because of frequent antibiotic use, as well as many other things, most people have an imbalance of microflora.  This often results in a condition known as Candida, which is an underlying factor in many health issues.

Where do we get probiotics?  Our ancestors ate foods rich in probiotics.  But modern pasteurization and processing not only kills bad bacteria, it also unfortunately kills good bacteria, therefore a lot of commercial foods don’t provide this value.  Many recipes are now available online to make things like “grandma used to make”.  Properly made, these foods are some of the best sources of probiotics.

Tomorrow we will talk about fiber, vitamins and minerals.

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