PLANT CARBS vs PROCESSED CARBS
Atkins and Paleo enthusiast say cut the carbs, eat the meat. Vegans and vegetarians say eat more carbs and cut the meat. What is the truth of the matter for people with atherosclerotic artery disease? The answer centers on what is meant by “carbs.”
Natural carbohydrates are plant starches found in whole plant foods. These are highly complex, layered chains of glucose. Glucose is the natural sugar used by our cells for energy. As whole foods, plant carbohydrates are always accompanied by plant fiber and protein. These starches are slowly broken down by the human gut and the glucose is slowly absorbed. This is the natural process by which plant starch energy is transformed into human cellular energy.
Processed carbohydrates are of two varieties. Common flour is roller ground grains producing a starch dust of smaller particles. Regular sugar is processed beets or cane producing conjoined fructose and glucose granules. Both of these are rapidly absorbed and devoid of any fiber or protein. This causes sugar spikes resulting in fat storage, insulin resistance and diabetes.
Processed carbs are ubiquitous in the Standard American Diet. Flour and sugar are the primary ingredient of packaged cereals, chips, cookies and snacks of all kinds. They are empty, excess calories contributing next to nothing of nutritional value.
Eliminating processed carbohydrates is a part of many fad diets. This is why people lose weight on almost any diet. Atkins, Paleo and Gluten Free diets all eschew these. Yet they retain processed meat products associated with atherosclerotic artery disease.
Diets high in carbohydrates–natural plant carbohydrates–are the only diets ever proven to prevent the development and progression of atherosclerosis. So eat a high carb diet, a low fat and plant based diet.