The first level energy source is carbohydrates. It is possible to distinguish different levels of use, digestion, and availability. Not all carbohydrates give energy. Ab important and interesting fact is that the source of carbohydrates is mainly from plant origin. The ancestors got their energy often from fats but when turning to farm the digestive system changed. The current carbohydrate source is mainly of plant origin.
Carbohydrates are divided in different ways.
This dividing is easier to understand when using the GI (Glycemic) index scale. Hereby we set Glucose at 100 as it is the fastest available carbohydrate for the human body;
|FOOD||Glycemic index (glucose = 100)|
|White wheat bread*||75 ± 2|
|Chapatti||52 ± 4|
|White rice, boiled*||73 ± 4|
|Brown rice, boiled||68 ± 4|
|Sweet corn||52 ± 5|
|Rice noodles†||53 ± 7|
|Udon noodles||55 ± 7|
|Couscous†||65 ± 4|
|Rice porridge/congee||78 ± 9|
|Apple, raw†||36 ± 2|
|Orange, raw†||43 ± 3|
|Dates, raw||42 ± 4|
|Potato, boiled||78 ± 4|
|Taro, boiled||53 ± 2|
|Milk, full fat||39 ± 3|
|Ice cream||51 ± 3|
|Soy milk||34 ± 4|
|Rice milk||86 ± 7|
|Kidney beans||24 ± 4|
|Soya beans||16 ± 1|
|Chocolate||40 ± 3|
|Soft drink/soda||59 ± 3|
|Fructose||15 ± 4|
|Sucrose||65 ± 4|
|Glucose||103 ± 3|
|Honey||61 ± 3|
|Data are means ± SEM.
* Low-GI varieties were also identified.
† Average of all available data.
The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Also known as “blood sugar,” blood glucose levels above normal are toxic.
|Upon waking||Before meals
|At least 90 minutes after meals (postprandial)|
|Non-diabetic*||4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L||under 7.8 mmol/L|
|Type 2 diabetes||4 to 7 mmol/L||under 8.5 mmol/L|
|Type 1 diabetes||5 to 7 mmol/L||4 to 7 mmol/L||5 to 9 mmol/L|
The primary carb in the human system is glucose. It is the fastest and most needed carb. But how does it turn into energy? The enclosed picture makes this an easy inside process.
All larger carbohydrates must go through the breakdown process in the digestive system :
The digestive energy track of the carb cycle has few serious fowls during the aging process.
Within the gastrointestinal tract, there is a lot of functional loss during the aging process. Each loss does not seem to have a direct relationship with the energy and other systems. But the main problem is the loss of source material (food) which passes through the system without being properly digested. This problem with added to this a function and activity loss of the enzymatic system do promote aging.
Once glucose is inside the liver, glucose is phosphorylated into glucose-6-phosphate or G6P. G6P is further metabolized into triglycerides, fatty acids, glycogen or energy. Glycogen is the form in which the body stores glucose. The liver can only store about 100 g of glucose in the form of glycogen. The muscles store glycogen. Muscles can store approximately 500 g of glycogen. Because of the limited storage areas, any carbohydrate that is consumed beyond the storage capacity is converted to and stored as fat. There is practically no limit on how many calories the body can store as fat.
The glucose stored in the liver serves as a buffer for blood glucose levels. Therefore, if the blood glucose levels start to get low because due to not consuming food for a period of time, the liver is able to release glucose into the bloodstream to maintain healthy levels. Blood glucose levels are tightly regulated because glucose is the primary energy source for the central nervous system. Blood glucose is important for sustaining brain functioning. If the body reserves of glucose deplete, a process called gluconeogenesis will take place. During gluconeogenesis, glucose is synthesized from molecules that are not carbohydrates. Often, this means the body breaks down muscle fibers to obtain the molecules to produce glucose. Glycogenolysis occurs primarily in the liver and is stimulated by the hormones glucagon and epinephrine (adrenaline).Muscle glycogen reserves are stored energy for the muscles. The glycogen is able to be broken back down into glucose when the muscle contracts and requires energy. The body is able to store 500 g of glycogen, roughly equivalent to 2,000 calories, in the muscles. Therefore, if not eaten for a day, the stores become depleted.
Carbohydrates are an absolute need for the survival as it is the source of energy. On the other hand, the current time offers and excess use of carbohydrates and it is hard to nearly impossible to escape this. The use of the glycemic index is not important in the food industry. Taste and addiction to carbohydrates are. Carbohydrate creates an addiction by promoting a constant craving for dopamine release. Hereby it is clear that the mind is not always working in favor of the body and health. One of the most serious problems is an addiction to something. Addiction to carbohydrates is leading to gigantic health problems worldwide (Obesities).
The body receives carbohydrate addiction source training from a very young age. The milk sugar lactose is most favorable for the baby. The body cuts of the production at around age 4 of the enzyme needed to digest lactose. This enzyme, lactase, stops its activity, generally, during the third year of life. Gradually the mother milk stops coming and there should be no use of it anymore. But the Western world invented a scheme in the 60’s that all people should drink milk. What started as a commercial marketing to sell milk product got the backup of science. Milk became a health tool. When looking back at history it is possible to discover that the introduction of milk started in the 50’s-60 ’s. People just past a world war and there was a need for good and cheap sources of nutrients.
|A little school milk history from Europe
After the passing of the 1906 Education Act, Local Education Authorities were empowered to provide free school meals. In 1921 this had been extended to free milk. However, an investigation by John Boyd Orr(published as Food, Health, and Income in 1937) revealed that there was a link between low-income, malnutrition, and under-achievement in schools. Following the 1945 General Election, the new Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, appointed Ellen Wilkinson as Minister of Education, the first woman in British history to hold the post. Wilkinson had long been a campaigner against poverty and in 1946 managed to persuade Parliament to pass the School Milk Act. This act ordered the issue of one-third of a pint of milk free to all pupils under eighteen.
In 1946, the School Milk Act provided free milk to all school children. A third of a pint of milk was provided to all children under the age of 18 years until 1968 when Harold Wilson’s Government withdrew free milk from secondary schools. This policy was extended in 1971 when Margaret Thatcher (then secretary of state for education) withdrew free school milk from children over seven.
This was an economic decision, not one based on a nutritional assessment of the value of milk, and for this, she earned the nickname ‘Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher’ – although many children were delighted at not having to drink the warm sickly odorous milk at school anymore! The school milk scheme was introduced in 1977 by the European Union (EU) to encourage the consumption of milk in schools. The scheme required member states to make subsidized milk available to primary and nursery schools wishing to take part, but participation was entirely a matter for the school or LEA.
The European Commission had originally indicated that it wished to abolish the subsidy because the scheme was not providing value for money. The UK did not accept these conclusions and fought hard to retain the scheme. A compromise was secured whereby in 2001 the subsidy rate was reduced from 95 to 75 percent. The UK Government topped up the subsidy to its original level in England, up to a maximum total expenditure of £1.5 million each year. In the academic year 2003 to 2004, around one million school children in England drank 34.9 million liters of subsidized milk at a cost of around £7 million.
The white liquid, which was neither liked or used much before, milk became a solution. A strong lobby of the dairy industry discovered the combination of cheap, healthy and multiple uses in milk and did put all their effort into it. It was clearly successful as milk became easy to sell and widely available. Soon it was discovered that lactase production created a critical problem. People got diarrhea, gas and digestive problems, which were inconvenient and gave a setback to milk consuming. The solutions were the start to train the body at a very young age to get used to milk and milk products. Children are brought up with milk in the classroom from primary school up. By training the body to produce lactase it soon became possible to sell milk and milk products to every age group. In the current market, it is very difficult to avoid milk as it is used in nearly every product. Lactose intolerance became a disease not the standard within less than 50 years.
Carbohydrates cravings are build up since very young. In nearly all the food we eat is some form of carbohydrate “hidden”. The reasons are:
Carbohydrates are best known as fructose which is nearly 10x more sweet than glucose but also less useful for the body. The following explains how the chemical reaction is set up.