Carbohydrates and Fiber


a free, open-access course in diet & nutrition

Carbohydrates are at the basis of human diet the world all over. But why are they important? How much do we need? How should we select our food sources of carbs? What is insulin? What are the glycemic index and the glycemic load? And how about dietary fiber?

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4.1    Glucose and its functions

We start discovering carbohydrates by examining glucose and its many important functions in our body

4.2    Simple sugars & complex carbs

Simple sugars, starch, glycogen... A few words on how carbs are classified, digested and absorbed

4.3    The good & the bad of insulin

Today we learn one of the most important concepts in nutrition, and the key to understanding why carbs in our diet are extremely important, but can become extremely detrimental if eaten the wrong way

4.4    Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load

Two very helpful but often misunderstood concepts...

4.5    Whole vs. refined grains

The many advantages of eating whole instead of refined grains, and a few tips to read labels and identify the best grain products

4.6    Food sources of carbs and added sugar

Food sources of carbohydrates; added sugar hidden in some food items and glycemic index of different foods

4.7    How many carbs do we need?

How many carbohydrates do we need, and why an excess can be very detrimental to our health. Plus, a few tips to improve our carbs intake

4.8    Is fructose better or worse?

Is fructose a good alternative to regular table sugar? Or is it worse?

4.9    Why some people can’t digest lactose?

What is lactose maldigestion and how it can be dealt with

4.10  Are sugar substitutes a good idea?

Are artificial sweeteners safe to use? Are they a good alternative to sugar?

4.11  What is dietary fiber?

What is dietary fiber and where can it be found in food?

4.12  Why is fiber so important?

The many benefits associated with a good dietary intake of soluble and insoluble fiber

4.13  How can we safely increase fiber intake?

Increasing fiber intake abruptly can do more harm than good. Today we learn the best way to properly increase fiber intake, and why a fiber supplement is not the same as a high dietary fiber intake.