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Is it true… do carbs turn into sugar?

By Rachel O'Regan |


I Quit Sugar - Is it true… do carbs turn into sugar?

On the occasion that I Quit Sugar posts a recipe with bread, pasta or white potatoes, we are bombarded with questions: You quit sugar, but still eat bread? Don’t carbs convert to sugar in the body? Won’t that wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels?

Woah, woah, woah. We don’t believe potatoes are the devil, and neither should you. We spoke to IQS expert, naturopath and nutritionist Emily Seddon, to tell us why.

Yes, carbs DO convert to sugar, but that’s missing the IQS point.

Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 50 per cent glucose and 50 per cent fructose.

“Glucose is a simple sugar which cells use to get short-term energy,” says Emily. “In fact, it’s the preferred fuel source for almost all the cells in our body.

“At some point, the body can convert all food to glucose unless it’s seriously pure protein.”

When we quit sugar on the 8-Week Program, we focus on quitting the fructose, which, unlike glucose, is highly addictive and almost exclusively processed by the liver.

We’re not trying to rid the body of glucose because you’d find it pretty darn difficult to get by without it.

So, why all the fuss about carbs?

“The body deals differently with carbs compared to proteins and fats,” says Emily. “It can metabolise the carbs faster to release glucose more quickly for the body to use as fuel.”

The problem comes when we eat too many simple carbs like pasta or white potatoes, which are high on the glycemic index and low in fibre. These can cause blood glucose levels to rapidly rise and crash.

“And when your blood sugar levels crash, they can leave you craving more sugar.”

What are the best carbs to eat?

To make sure that we have enough carbs to fuel our body with glucose (but without sending our blood sugar levels through the roof), it’s a good idea to pick your carbohydrates with care.

“The fibre contained in some carbs does help keep your blood sugar more stable than others, which is why we love vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Yep, those are all carbs!” says Emily.

The ones we take care not to eat too much of include white bread and pasta, French fries, juice, soft drinks and any processed confectionary – they all hit your blood glucose levels hard and fast.

Low-carbing can be healthy, but be careful.

So in summary:

  • Carbs convert to glucose for our body to use.
  • We focus on eliminating fructose, not glucose.
  • We include some carbs in our Meal Plans – but only whole grain carbs packed with fibre that promote sustained energy release and a stable blood glucose level.

But, ultimately the decision is yours.

“How you eat carbohydrates shouldn’t be dictated by concrete rules – everyone reacts to carbs differently,” says Emily. “Someone with diabetes, for example, needs to consider carbs very carefully, while there are definitely some people who thrive on low-carb diets.

“It’s important to remember when cutting down on any macronutrient that you continue to monitor your health, listen to your body and check with your doctor if you’re making any changes with what you eat.”

Are you ready to transform your life and quit sugar for good? 
Join us on our next 8-Week Program, starting soon!

Join now!

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

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