Carbohydrate

CARBOHYDRATE AND FIBRE

Carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body is known as dietary fibre. Nearly all carbohydrates can be broken down into the simplest sugar form, but fibre cannot be broken down into the simplest sugar and rather fibre move through your body undigested. Fibre has many functions such as helps to keep your body digestive system healthy and regulate body cholesterol and sugar levels.

Diseases that can be caused by low-fibre diets consist of:

  • Heart-related disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Constipation
  • Diverticular-related disease
  • Sensitive bowel condition

Steps to increase fibre intake in your diet:

  • Replace biscuits, chocolate bars and chips with fresh vegetables(e.g. carrot stick) for snack.
  • Avoid drinking fruit juices, instead eat the whole fruits.
  • Choose lentils, beans, and peas over meat items.
  • Buy cereals for breakfast that consist of wheat, oats or barley.
  • Add on an extra portion of vegetables to your dinner.

Reference: The Nutrition Source. (2020). Fiber. [online] Available at: <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/>

Carbohydrate and Starchy Foods

One of our major source for carbohydrate is starchy foods and starchy foods play a significant part in a well-balanced diet.

Wholegrain bread
Starchy Foods

The major source of energy (calories) comes from starchy foods and starchy foods also contribute to a wide variety of nutrients (examples: vitamins B, fibre, calcium and iron.) towards your healthy diet.

In general, people have the conception that starchy foods will cause fattening, but starchy foods actually consist of lesser than half calories of what fats consist of. While cooking starchy foods, control the fats added into the dishes as this will cause high calories contribution in your diet.

To eat extra starchy foods in healthier ways, you will have to:

·         Choose brown rice over white rice, which increase the fibre intake in your diet

·         Go for wholegrain oats or cereals with low-fat milk and some of your preferred fruits

·         Opt for a baked potato with the skin on with some baked vegetables along

·         Always choose baked potato wedges over fries or deep-fried potatoes dish

·         Have a different type of bread for breakfast, such as granary, wholemeal, multigrain, seeded and oat. This will increase the variety of nutrients intake of your diet

 

Reference: nhs.uk. (2019). Starchy foods and carbohydrates. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/starchy-foods-and-carbohydrates/

Carbohydrate and Added Sugars

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Carbohydrates are widely known to provide energy for the body. Our body breaks down the carbohydrate into glucose, which powers everything we do. Carbohydrates are subdivided into several categories – sugars, starches and fibre.

Sugars

Sugars are found naturally in food like fruits and milk products. Sugars are added during food processing to improve shelf life and taste of food and they are referred to as added sugars. It is not a secret that high consumption of sugars, especially added sugars, are bad for health and can lead to obesity and diabetes. In addition, added sugars are empty calories – it provides zero nutritional value but increases calorie intake. Excess calories will be stored as fat.

Added Sugars

Based on the Health Promotion Board, it is recommended to take no more than 8 to 11 teaspoons (40 to 55g) of added sugar a day. However, Singaporeans are consuming 60g of added sugar daily – according to the National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2018. One could start reducing their sugar intake by asking for less sugar (siu dai) in kopi or teh, or choose drinks with Health Promotion Board “Lower in Sugar” Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).

Do you know?

All drink stalls in Food Canopy offer “Lower in Sugar” HCS drinks.

 

Reference: Erickson, J. and Slavin, J. (2015). Total, Added, and Free Sugars: Are Restrictive Guidelines Science-Based or Achievable?. [online] NCBI. Available at: http://Total, Added, and Free Sugars: Are Restrictive Guidelines Science-Based or Achievable? [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].