Carbohydrates III This newsletter might be a bit too technical for some of you. The subject of the absorption of nutrients by the body, is seldom discussed in magazines and brochures and many of us just have a vague idea of how our body works. If you are not interested in the subject then just skip reading this letter, I will try to make it less technical in future ( depending on the subject ) The use of carbohydrates by the body Complete and thorough digestion of foodstuff is extremely important for good health. A tremendous amount of toxin elimination and accumulation puts a great stress and burden upon the organism and results in a large variety and number of disease. This happens both directly, from the presence of accumulated toxic substances that the body was not able to eliminate, and indirectly, from a decrease in the body's digestive capabilities due to overworking the digestive system and depleting the body's supply of vital energy. It is, therefore important for us to understand how our body digests the various nutrients and to insure thorough and complete digestion of all foods eaten. One of two things happens to foods that do not get thoroughly or completely digested: 1) Sugars may ferment or 2) proteins may putrefy (rot). These processes result from bacterial activity which breaks down (decompose) undigested or indigestible foods in preparation for their elimination from the body. The "trick" to getting nourishment from the foods we eat is to see to it that they get digested quickly, before the bacteria, present within every healthy digestive tract, have a chance to decompose them. The result of bacterial decomposition are toxic and do not provide nourishment. Foods that don't digest relatively soon after ingestion will ferment and putrefy, thus contributing to body toxicity and disease. Monosacharides do not require digestion. For this reason, our best source of carbohydrates is from fruits. Fruits require much less of the body's energies as the sugars are absorbed into the blood stream without need of digestion. Disaccharides and polysaccharides must be digested before the body can use them. While the digestion of all types of foods ( protein, carbohydrates, fats etc.. ) begins in the mouth with the mechanical process of mastication, certain carbohydrates, namely, starches and dextrin, are the only foods whose chemical digestion begins in the mouth. An enzyme known as ptyalin, secreted by the parotid gland, is mixed with the food during the chewing process and begins the conversion of glycogen, starch and dextrin into the disaccharide maltose. For thorough digestion and consequent good health, this continuation of starch digestion by ptyalin in the stomach is a necessity. Protein foods cause a secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and hydrochloric acid destroys ptyalin and so do acids such as tomatoes, berries, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, pineapples, sour grapes and other sour fruits as well as the acid of vinegar. Therefore, for good health, it is important to consume starchy foods at separate meals from protein foods and acids. Whatever carbohydrates make it to the intestine quickly enough to escape fermentation by bacterial action will be acted upon in the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, by a enzyme secreted by the pancreas. This enzyme converts any remaining dextrin and starch to maltose. At this stage in the digestive process, that is, after the polysaccharides ( starch, dextrin and glycogen ) have been converted to the disaccharide maltose, maltose and the other disaccharides ( sucrose and lactose ) must be converted to Monosacharides since the body can use sugars only as Monosacharides. This is accomplished by amylases secreted by the wall of the small intestine and are capable of splitting the particular sugars for which they were designed to the Monosacharides stage Metabolism is the term used to describe the many chemical changes that occur after the end product of digestion have been absorbed into the body. There are 2 phases of metabolism: 1) anabolism, which is the chemical reaction by which absorbed nutrients are utilized for replacement of used or worn-out body substances (maintenance) and to create new cellular material (growth) and, 2) catabolism, which includes the chemical reaction whereby cellular materials are broken down into smaller units ( eg. Supply energy to the muscles during physical exercise) Fruits are the ideal source of carbohydrates because they are the foods humans are physiologically and anatomically adapted to eating. Humans have a natural "sweet tooth" because that's our inherit nature. The sugar in fruits being mostly Monosacharides, pass through the stomach and are absorbed trough the walls of the intestine without undergoing any digestion. This leaves a great surplus of body energy available for higher level of pursuits in life. Since carbohydrates, quantitively speaking, are the greatest nutrient need we humans have, it follows that fruits, loaded with sugars should comprise the bulk of our diet. Anything other than fruits, should be small amounts of non-sweet fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers etc..) vegetables, nuts, seeds & sprouts.