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Awaiting moderation 14 Article

The g.i. factor: how does carbohydrate work?

        THE G.I. FACTOR: HOW DOES CARBOHYDRATE WORK?
The usual source of glucose for the body is from the sugars and starches in food. To make use of these, the body must first break them down in the gut into a form that can be absorbed and which the cells can use. This process is called digestion.
Digestion starts in the mouth when amylase, the digestive enzyme in saliva, is incorporated into the food by chewing. The activity of this enzyme stops in the stomach. Most of the digestion continues only when the carbohydrate reaches the small intestine. In the small intestine, amylase from pancreatic juice breaks down the large molecules of starch into short chain molecules. These and any disaccharide sugars are then broken into simpler monosaccharides by enzymes in the wall of the intestine. The monosaccharides that result, glucose, fructose and galactose, are absorbed from the small intestine into the blood stream where they are available as a source of energy to the cells.
The body maintains a certain level of glucose in the blood to serve the brain and central nervous system. To ensure a readily available supply of glucose, the body stores glucose in the muscles and the liver. This stored glucose is called glycogen. If you are eating insufficient carbohydrate, these glycogen stores will be broken down and converted to glucose. Once the body has used up its glycogen it will start breaking down muscle protein to synthesise glucose for the vital organs. A low carbohydrate diet will make you feel headachy and unwell and causes loss of lean muscle tissue and water—two things you need to hang on to! It will not help you lose weight because the body's fat stores cannot be converted to glucose.

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