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Carbs vs. Sugar Clarified

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Carbs and sugars: what’s the difference? Find out!


0:00 Introduction

0:25 Carbs vs. sugars clarified

2:22 What is fiber?

3:01 Processed foods and the glycemic index

3:42 Starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables

4:22 Bulletproof your immune system

In this video, we’re going to talk about the difference between carbs and sugars.

On a Healthy Keto diet, you want to keep your carbs under 50g per day—preferably around 20g per day.

Carbohydrates are a combination of starches, fibers, and sugars.

Sugars are smaller carbohydrate molecules. For instance, sucrose is a disaccharide, which means that it is made up of two (di, meaning two) simple carbohydrate molecules.

Fructose and glucose are monosaccharides, which are made up of one (mono, meaning one) molecule.

Starches are complex carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates are broken down into two categories: oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides have between 3 and 20 molecules, and polysaccharides have more than 20 molecules.

Then, we have fiber. We deduct fiber from the total carbs because, even though fiber is a carbohydrate, it can’t be broken down by our digestive systems.

Microbes can break down fiber, so fiber is great for supplying your gut microbes with nutrients.

Fiber does not affect your blood sugars like other carbohydrates.

Let’s talk about the glycemic index (GI). The GI tells you how fast a particular carbohydrate turns into blood glucose and affects your blood sugar level.

For example, a raw potato would be relatively low on the GI because the starch isn’t going to break down very quickly. However, cooked potatoes or a bag of potato chips would be much higher on the glycemic index because they are broken down much more quickly, thus causing a spike in blood sugar.

The goal is to consume foods that are low in sugars and carbs but higher in fiber to help keep your blood sugar levels normal.

Some vegetables are very starchy, which means it is high in carbohydrates. Potatoes, carrots, and beats all have higher amounts of carbs compared to leafy greens, asparagus, celery, and broccoli. You don’t have to count your carbs when it comes to non-starchy vegetables.

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