Sugar and white flour comprise two of the three most common forms of carbohydrates: sugars and starches. Although sugar is an example of a simple carbohydrate and white flour is an example of a complex carbohydrate, both have the net effect of rapid metabolism that can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Because of the rate at which these substances metabolize, along with their lack of nutritional value, removing sugar and white flour from your diet can have a positive effect on your health.
According to Nutrient Facts, an online nutrient database, 2 teaspoon of granulated sugar provides 30 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrates and has no other nutritional value. An identical amount of unenriched white flour provides 20 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates and again no other nutritional value. Enriched flour does provide small amounts of riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and folate.
According to Felicia Drury Kliment, author of “Eat Right for Your Metabolism,” the fiber content in a food determines how quickly metabolism proceeds. Foods higher in fiber take longer to digest and release glucose into your bloodstream at a slow rate. In contrast, the sugar and starch in refined foods metabolize quickly and release glucose to your bloodstream all at once. As blood sugar spikes, your pancreas begins secreting large quantities of insulin that stimulate glucose absorption into cells and body tissues. According to Kliment, this insulin overload then causes blood sugar levels to plummet and leaves you feeling hungry, creating a cycle glucose-induced food cravings.
Kliment states that because sugar and white flour stimulate your appetite and cause food cravings, they have the potential to result in weight gain. In addition, their lack of nutritional value can have an effect on your overall health if you continually choose foods containing these ingredients rather than high-nutrient foods. Finally, your risk of developing or worsening diabetes increases significantly when your diet includes large amount of refined foods such as sugar and white flour.
According to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, author and multidiscipline health specialist, removing refined carbohydrates sugar and white flour from your diet will improve your overall health. Dr. Mirkin states that in addition to increasing your risk of becoming obese and/or developing diabetes, refined carbohydrates also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Just as the wrong type of carbohydrates can negatively affect your health, so can eliminating carbohydrates from your diet. Carbohydrates provide energy your body and brain must have to function and remain alive. The Harvard School of Public Health states that rather than refined carbohydrates, you select complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, old-fashioned oatmeal, brown rice and dried beans that protect rather than harm you.