Carbohydrates and Aging

Early on, I remember reading how Diabetes ages a person at least 10 years.  I never quite understood this theory but I knew I didn’t like it, and would do whatever I could to slow or prevent this from happening to me.  Recently, there has been much more written about this phenomenon and when broken down into phases, we diabetics should have enough understanding of carb counting to keep this at bay.

I’ve come across a recent article,  “Do Carbs Age Your Body Faster?” by Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Catherine Ebeling, an RN, BSN and author of  The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging.  Simply put,  NO, it all depends on the amount and types of carbs consumed.  It is however, high spikes in glucose levels that cause the aging, and THIS IS caused by consuming carbs with no thought to  the consequences.  As diabetics, we should be aware of carb counting, if you are not, there are small, pocket sized books, that should be like your bible until you are comfortable with it.   All carbs will increase your blood sugar, but the difference is the timing.  Is it a slow process or a rapid spike, leaving your meds playing catch up later.    The author illustrated a  good example of the difference  as follows:

2 slices of whole wheat toast;  45 mins after eating, blood sugar spiked from an 86 fasting level to 156.

1 bowl of oatmeat, (equivalent grams of carbs as 2 slices of toast above) 45 mins after eating; blood sugar raised from 86 fasting to 112.

Now, everyone’s numbers  will be different, however, the food and portion is in your control.  Please reread my earlier posting on “Glycemic Index Basics” from April.  We have all been taught that  whole wheat is the healthier choice if breads and muffins are going to be eaten, however, now we are learning that whole wheat and other grains  have a unique type of starch which spikes blood sugar more that pure table sugar.  These high blood sugar spikes are what, over time, are responsible (at least in part) for accelerated aging.  High blood sugars circulating around in our bodies leave deposits  known as Advanced Glycation End Products  (AGEs) this is known as glycation.  It is these compounds which speed up the aging process including damage, over time,  to your organs,  joints and wrinkled skin.

Of course now we all want to run out and totally never eat another carb, however, carbohydrates DO have a necessary place in our diets.  Extreme low-carb diets like the once very popular Adkins was excessive.  Thyroid hormones, as well as, Leptin hormone levels can drop too low to  maintain a healthy metabolism (weight gain).  Since being diabetic, our main concern should, as always, be keeping out blood sugars down to a healthy number,  avoid spiking highs and lows, which in and of themselves are dangerous.  Always remember, there are such things as healthy carbs, in moderation, with attention to BS testing and getting to know how a particular one affects YOUR blood sugar.

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