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03-21-2008, 10:31 PM   #1
dad_01
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Nutrition Questions

I'm reading up on some nutritional stuff and see that food can be divided into three groups: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

I'm having a hard time understanding the carbohydrates. Apparently they can be slow or fast, simple or complex, starchy or non-starchy. I'm not clear what all of these mean, and whether there is overlap among the categories.

For instance, I think simple means that the food (such as white bread) is converted into blood sugar relatively quickly which, for sugar spiking purposes I guess is not supposed to be good. I can't figure out whether for digestive purposes - such as crohns - there is any relevance.

Thanks for any input.
03-22-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
Kev
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Depends. Some folks are 'sensitive' to any carb that has a complex structure. The folks behind the SCD could tell you more. As for starchy Vs non starchy, again it depends on the individual; and whether fighting to stay in the happy medium midst constipation N diarhea is applicable. I tend to switch to starches or away from them depending on whether my system is speeding up or slowing down. I won't go any further; because I only examined the SCD long enuff to know it wasn't for me; and my memory isn't reliable.. And the starchy diet stuff is pretty anecdotal... It has helped me, but I never put it to scientific testing..
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03-23-2008, 02:09 AM   #3
BWS1982
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Well to simplify things for you there is a GI scale (not as in Gastrointestinal for once, this time the acronym is Glycemic Index), and it's easily findable on the 'net...just be sure it's a reliable source. Pure sugar is 100, and it's a scale of how much of a spike a carb will cause in the blood sugar. It's good for "general" health purposes, but Crohns is a bit different. For Crohns it's all about (usually, for most people) how much work the GI tract has to do to break down a food...less work is better, to an extent. For example though, a bunch of Sweetarts candy would in theory, due to being low fiber, be agreeable, but this is not the case (mostly). There are several other factors that make a food good/bad for Crohns, other than being highly individual (per patient), it's easiest to put this all into a "example" based grouping, rather than "categorical". What I mean by this is it's easier to list examples of "Crohns friendly carbs" rather than to lump everything into one group or another. And those examples can vary...but for most it's that "white rice, white bread, skinless potatoes, wheat farina" list...

"General health carbs thinking" and "Crohns carbs thinking" are very different.
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03-23-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
Kev
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Good point Benson... And the same thing holds true for other areas. Frinstance... fibre (or fiber, to some folks).. considered good for healthy folks, (and being incorporated into practically everything) it is not so good for us with GI issues... inflamed or constricted areas of the tract don't tolerate it so well; and it can increase the frequency of bathroom trips; not something a person with our condition would ordinarily want.. (unless fighting the big 'C')
And, from what I understand... we need to be careful of the ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6.. Typically (and anyone with a better handle on this please feel free to jump in and correct me if I get these numbers wrong) the proper ratio is 1:4 of Omegas 3 N 6 for a healthy person; whereas for us 'crohnies' a better ratio would be 1:2, or 1:1. Omega 6 is needed, but too much can be a source of increased inflamation... And another general rule of thumb has to do with the inclusion of over processed foods into ones diet. healthy folks are bombarded with info that the more a food is processed/refined, the less nutritional value it has... But for us crohnies, sometimes this processing can be a blessing (long as we guard/watch the sugar content) is it breaks down elements of the food that our GI tract couldn't or shouldn't be called on to do. for example... brown or wild rice is better for the healthy, but white is better for us (not 'nutritionaly, per se, but digestively - if there is such a word).. Is your head starting to spin yet? Welcome to the fun that is IBD.
03-23-2008, 06:18 PM   #5
dad_01
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Seems like there are a lot of dimensions to this.

So a "fast" carb breaks down, or is converted, into blood sugar more quickly than a "slow" carb? This would be a strain on your body because sugar spikes are not good? But it would be good for crohns because since it is simple it wouldn't require much digestive work, except that sugar may be seen as an offending ingrediant by some nutritionists for crohn's purposes?
03-23-2008, 06:20 PM   #6
dad_01
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I'm guessing that fast carbs are okay for specific carbohydrate diet crohn's purposes - not for general health purposes - if they are not sugar, dairy or grain.
03-24-2008, 12:56 AM   #7
BWS1982
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In a short answer, yes, faster tend to be better for Crohns but as a general rule for healthy people (not that Crohn's patients can't be "healthy", just not "normal"), the carbs that are preferable are slower digesting. If a Crohns patient can tolerate it, slower is still better, it's just that's uncharacteristic of Crohns in most cases, so a faster digesting carb (but not sugary, as that's not really good for anybody) like white rice is best for digestive purposes in most instances...but should brown rice (a healthier alternative in general) be okay for a Crohns patient, then that's better.

Basically a good way to put this confusion, is that slower is better as a general rule for EVERYBODY...BUT, as a Crohns patient, one has an extra "pre-requisite" it must be okay for their digestive system as well. If this means they have to sacrifice some of the "slow-ness" in the digestion, then so be it, it's more important that we lose some nutrition (nutrients/minerals, less GI spike) than if we aggravate the disease. So I'll have to take the white rice's shortcomings because it's easier on me. Make sense?
03-24-2008, 01:03 AM   #8
dad_01
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I think I'm getting it. So is a fast carb the same thing as a simple carb?

And a slow carb is the same thing as a complex carb?

And where does a starchy carb fit in?
03-24-2008, 01:33 AM   #9
BWS1982
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Yeah, those are pretty much the same thing, as for "starchy" that's kinda the same as slow, but that's up for interpretation. Sort of depends on who's using the term, but generally it'll be a "synonym" to complex. Starchy is sort of referring to complex, etc... like pasta and whole grains, rather than sugary, like fruit or candy.
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