Muffin but the truth: 7 carb facts you probably don't know
Not all carbohydrates are created equal, but here is a quick guide to what we should be eating
Blame the Atkins diet if you like, or blame the myriad mixed messages we appear to receive, but one way or another, we tie ourselves in knots about carbs.
If not all carbohydrates are created equal, then which foods should we actually be eating? It’s a topic Dr Xand van Tulleken grapples with in his latest UK TV show, The Truth About ... Carbs. It tells us a few things we probably know (obesity is a serious problem; diabetes is a serious illness, etc) but it also throws up some surprising truths.
Here are seven things you might not have realised about carbs:A jacket potato contains the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugarSome of the show’s most shocking revelations centre on foods we have long assumed are quite healthy. In the same vein we learn that an apparently wholesome breakfast consisting of a bowl of Fruit ’n Fibre with semi-skimmed milk, buttered toast, a banana and 200ml of apple juice exceeds our recommended daily allowance of sugar in just one meal.
On average we eat seven tons of 'white' and 'beige' carbs in our lifetime
White carbs are the sort found in highly processed food (fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes and biscuits, for instance). Beige carbs are found in starchy foods like pasta, potatoes, rice and white bread. The ones we should be eating more of are known as “brown carbs” and are found in foods such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole oats.
If a plain cracker turns sweet in your mouth quickly, you probably process carbs effectively
The so-called cracker test reveals who can get away with a carb-heavy diet without piling on the kilos, and who can’t. If it takes fewer than 15 seconds for the cracker to start tasting sweet once you’re chewing it, this signals your body processes carbs efficiently for use as energy. If it takes more than 30 seconds, this indicates your body is far less effective at this, and stores the excess as fat.A chocolate muffin contains 10 sugar cubes, but a plain white bagel has 11
It’s easy to be fooled by appearances, and in the show a bagel turns out to be the item containing the equivalent of more sugar cubes than the sweet and sugary muffin.Toasting bread from frozen is better for you
Freezing bread turns some of the easily digested starch it contains into resistant starch – the sort that’s not fully broken down and absorbed in the small intestine, but instead travels on to the large intestine, providing a range of health benefits. It means your body gets far fewer calories from the bread, which can't hurt.
Swilling an energy drink around your mouth boosts your gym performance
... without you even having to swallow the luridly coloured stuff. Receptors in the mouth interact with specific areas in the brain, which thinks your body is going to receive carbs; the brain in turn tells the body to work harder. In other words, you can trick your brain just by sloshing the drink around in your mouth and spitting it out afterwards.
An apple contains as many calories as two Jaffa cakes
But don't rush to the biscuit aisle too quickly: fibre is absorbed into the body much more slowly from an apple, so gram for gram, you consume far less sugar from the fruit.
– © The Daily Telegraph