The carbohydrates are the starches and sugars which are the main providers of energy for keeping the body working and coping with the activities we undertake. Western man has about half his diet in the form of carbohydrate but in the east it constitutes up to 90% usually taken as grains. It is fortunate that grains are also good providers of protein; starvation is generally the result of too little food rather than too few carbohydrates.
The refining of carbohydrates into white flour, polished rice and white sugar is a prime cause of overweight. Such foods are easy to eat in large amounts whereas if they are as near nature as possible-for example as whole wheat flour; brown rice and raw sugar-the appetite is well satisfied with less quantity.
Another bonus is that the all important dietary fiber, probably in its best form as cereal fiber (bran), is retained. Dietary fiber adds bulk to the contents of the gut, and for this reason is extremely valuable in preventing constipation. It is thought that a Western diet low in dietary fiber may be one of the causes of diverticulitis, appendicitis and varicose veins.
If you include dietary fiber in your diet you will be less likely to suffer from those disorders linked with over-refined foods. It must be remembered that brown bread is often colored with caramel, and has added wheat germ (a good food in itself), but is basically made from a refined or semi-refined flour. It is safest to insist when you can on bread from stone ground whole-wheat flour as this will contain all the necessary nutrients. Brown rice, pulses (lentils, peas and beans) and oatmeal are also excellent sources of dietary fiber.
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