Tag Archives: Carbohydrate

Is it necessary to have sugar?

Most of us label sugar as the biggest evil today. We try our best to eliminate it from our diets and feel guilty whenever we ocassionally give in. But did it ever occur to you if these white crystals that were once an inseparable part of our daily diets, may not be that big an evil as they are touted to be? Well, the question did occur to us and we started digging further...

It is surprised to know that World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends having 6-12 teaspoons of sugar every day, much contrary to what most nutritionists and health experts believe.

Let us first distinguish between different kinds of sugars, artificial sweeteners, sugarcane extracted crystallized sugar and natural sugars (sugar we get from our foods and fruits).

Crystallized sugar: This is the sugar we consume on a daily basis. We add a spoonful in our milk, tea, coffee, desserts and often foods like dals and subzis.

Artificial sweeteners: These are sweeteners like stevia, saccharin, sucrose and aspartame, most commonly renamed as “sugar-free” substitutes for dietary sugar.

Natural sugars: All vegetables, seeds, fruits have natural sugar content in them. These vary from food to food and are often the safest kind of sugar to be consumed.

We most commonly consume sugar which comes from Sugarcane or Beetroot is actually beneficial for us.

However, the processed and packaged foods which contain sugar extracted from high fructose corn syrup, is the dangerous kind and should be avoided as much as possible.

According to maney nutritionist we don’t require sugar. “Our body processes glucose from sugar but the same glucose can be extracted from starch, protein and fats that we consume, when required by the body. One should focus on including high fiber diet, which has complex carbohydrates.”

The theory of not consuming sugar has been given in many diets such as GM diet to reduce weight. But this negatively affects our body since our body needs glucose to generate energy.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Dicentra Canadensis

Botanical Name: Dicentra Canadensis
Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Fumarioideae
Tribe: Fumarieae
Genus: Dicentra
Species: D. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Turkey Pea. Squirrel Corn. Staggerweed. Bleeding Heart. Shone Corydalis. Corydalis. Corydalis Canadensis (Goldie). Bicuculla Canadensis (Millsp.).
Common Name: Squirrel corn
Habitat:Dicentra Canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – S. Quebec, Minnesota, N. Carolina, Tennessee. It grows in rich woods. Deciduous woods, often among rock outcrops, in rich loam soils from sea level to 1500 metres.
Description:
Dicentra canadensis is a perennial plant, growing 6 to 10 inches high, with a tuberous root, flowering in early spring (often in March) having from six to nineteen nodding, greenish-white, purple-tinged flowers, the root or tuber small and round. It should be collected only when the plant is in flower and it is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The tubers are tawny yellow-coloured, the colour being a distinctive character. The plant must not be confounded with Corydalis (Dicentra) Cuccularia (Dutchman’s Breeches), which flowers at the same time and very much resembles it (though smaller), except in the root, the rind of which is black with a white inside, and when dried, turns brownish-yellow, and under the microscope is full of pores. It has also a peculiar faint odour, the taste at first slightly bitter, then followed by a penetrating taste, which influences the bowels and increases the saliva; the differences in the colour after drying may be caused by the age of the root. Under the microscope, it is porous, spongy, resinous, with a glistening fracture. Another Corydalis also somewhat like Turkey Corn is C. Formosa, the fresh root of which is darkish yellow throughout and has a fracture much resembling honeycomb. The true Turkey Corn is much used by American eclectic practitioners. It is slightly bitter in taste and almost odourless. Tannic acid and all vegetable astringents are incompatible with preparations containing Turkey Corn, or with its alkaloid, Corydalin..
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Cultivation: Easily grown in a rich light soil, preferably neutral to slightly acid. Prefers light shade and a sheltered position according to one report whilst another says that it prefers heavier shade. Grows well in a sheltered corner of the rock garden. The seed is very difficult to harvest, it ripens and falls from the plant very quickly. This species is closely related to D. cucullaria. After fruit set, the bulblets of Dicentra canadensis remain dormant until autumn, when stored starch is converted to sugar. At this time also, flower buds and leaf primordia are produced below ground; these then remain dormant until spring. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation : Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown in early spring. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Two weeks warm stratification at 18°c followed by six weeks at 2°c can shorten up the germination time. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Root cuttings 7 – 10cm long in sandy soil in a cold frame
Edible Uses: The root is known to be edible.

Part Used: Dried tubers.
Constituents: The amount of alkaloids in the dried tubers is about 5 per cent; they have been found to contain corydalin, fumaric acid, yellow bitter extractive, an acrid resin and starch. The constituents of the drug have not been exactly determined, but several species of the closely allied genus Corydalis have been carefully studied and C. tuberosa, cava and bulbosa have been found to yield the following alkaloids: Corycavine, Bulbocapnine and Corydine; Corydaline is a tertiary base, Corycavine is a difficult soluble base; Bulbocapnine is present in largest amount and was originally called Corydaline. Corydine is a strong base found in the mother liquor of Bulbocapnine and several amorphous unnamed bases have been found in it. All these alkaloids have narcotic action. Protopine, first isolated from opium, has been found in several species of Dicentra and in C. vernyim, ambigua and tuberosa.

Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Diuretic; Tonic; VD.

The dried tubers are alterative, diuretic and tonic. The tubers are useful in the treatment of chronic cutaneous affections, syphilis, scrofula and some menstrual complaints. Turkey Corn is often combined with other remedies, such as Stillingia, Burdock or Prickly Ash.

Known Hazards : The plant is potentially poisonous and can also cause skin rashes.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicentra_canadensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/turkey29.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dicentra+canadensis

Cutting Carbohydrates From the Diet May Increase Longivity

You may be able to extend your life and stay fit throughout your old age with a simple change of diet that switches on your “youth” gene.

Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into aging, has discovered that carbohydrates directly affect the genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.

By tweaking the genes of roundworms, she has been able to help them live up to six times longer than normal.
->The carbohydrates we eat directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity
The genes that controlled aging in worms also do the same thing in rats and mice, probably monkeys, and there are signs they are active in humans, too. She found that turning down the gene that controls insulin in turn switches on another gene which acts like an elixir of life.

The Daily Mail reports:
“Discovering the … [first] gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, cutting right back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce) … so the vital second gene, the ‘elixir’ one, won’t get turned on.”

Source: Daily Mail October 26, 2010

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Low Carb More Effective than Low Fat Diet for Insulin Resistant Women

Obese women with insulin resistance lose more weight after three months on a lower-carbohydrate diet than on a traditional low-fat diet with the same number of calories, according to a new study.
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“The typical diet that physicians recommend for weight loss is a low-fat diet,” said the study’s lead author Raymond Plodkowski. “However, as this study shows, not all people have the same response to diets.”

People with insulin resistance, a common precursor for Type 2 diabetes, metabolize carbohydrates, or “carbs,” abnormally, which may affect their rate of weight loss. For them, Plodkowski said, “the lower-carb diet is more effective, at least in the short term.”

At 12-weeks, the study funded by Jenny Craig and using prepared calorie-controlled meals as part of a behavioral weight loss program, found that the insulin resistant women on a lower-carb diet lost 3.4 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet.

Forty-five obese women between the ages of 18 and 65 years participated in the study, and all had insulin resistance, as found by fasting blood levels of insulin. The researchers randomly assigned the women to either a low-fat or lower-carb diet. The groups did not differ significantly in average body weight, the authors reported. On average, women in the low-fat diet group weighed 213 pounds, while women in the other group weighed 223 pounds.

The composition of the low-fat diet was 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 percent from fat and 20 percent from protein. Although the lower-carb diet also had 20 percent of calories from protein, it had 45 percent from carbs and 35 percent from primarily unsaturated fats, such as nuts. Menus included a minimum of 2 fruits and 3 vegetable servings a day.

Use of prepared meals helped make the structured diets easier and more palatable for the dieters, according to Plodkowski. “We wanted to make this study real-world—anyone could follow this plan by making moderate changes as part of a healthy menu,” he said.

Both groups lost weight at each monthly weigh-in, but by 12 weeks, the insulin resistant group receiving the lower-carb diet lost significantly more weight, 19.6 pounds versus 16.2 pounds in the low-fat diet group – approximately 21 percent more on average.

“These data have potential widespread applications for clinicians when counseling people with insulin resistance to help improve weight loss as part of a calorie-restricted diet,” Plodkowski said. “They should at least initially lower their carbohydrate intake.”

Source:Elements4Health

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Saturated Fat is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease

The saturated fat found mainly in meat and dairy products has been regularly vilified by physicians and the media, but a new analysis of published studies finds no clear link between people’s intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heart disease.

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In the new analysis, which combined the results of 21 previous studies, researchers found no clear evidence that higher saturated fat intakes led to higher risks of heart disease or stroke.

A number of studies have linked the so-called Western diet to greater heart disease risks; that diet pattern is defined as one high in red meats and saturated fats — but it is also high in sweets and other refined carbohydrates like white bread.

Resources:
Reuters February 4, 2010
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 13, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91: 502-509; January 20, 2010

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