It has been widely debated these days that whether eating foods high in carbohydrates has the same negative outcomes as eating a high fat diet.

What impact does eating food high in carbohydrates have on all our body systems, particularly the heart and the pancreas? How this in turn can impact the incidence of lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

To know this we need to know what role the carbohydrates play in our body. Carbohydrates are source of energy that allow our system to work and carry out our daily activities. They are the most important macronutrient that are our core energy source to keep us going. And that is the reason why they constitute a major percentage of our recommended daily calorie needs - almost around 60 percent.

But carbohydrates can play an equal havoc on our body just like excess fats can if not consumed properly. Eating simple carbohydrates such as processed sugar, maida, and corn syrups can cause fluctuations in blood sugar because of their low fiber content. Fibers keep the sugar levels in check as they promote slow absorption into the cells for further use. Eating simple carbohydrates hence can alter the blood sugar levels to extremes leading to overworking of pancreas and causing diabetes.

A complex carbohydrate diet comprising whole unpolished grains, fruits and vegetables is advisable to meet the daily requirement as recommended by ICMR. This does not mean that simple sugars should be completely omitted from the diet. The intake should be controlled and restricted. Also simple sugars should never be consumed in isolation. What is advised is consuming simple sugars along with a fiber source to control the shoot up in blood sugar levels.

These days, eating foods high in carbohydrates especially simple carbohydrates as junk food is one of the main factors responsible for lifestyle diseases. A recent study shows that a high carbohydrate diet stimulates our brain centers and increases the hunger pangs causing us to eat more. Furthermore, these cravings have been shown to be more in obese people forcing them to eat more than others which in turn increases their weight. Avoiding refined carbohydrates might reduce urges and potentially help control weight.

Exercise is another sure shot way for reducing weight. Exercise is beneficial as it increases the insulin receptors on the cells that bind with insulin to increase the uptake of carbohydrates in the body. But more exercise does not justify the consumption of simple sugars in our diet. Regulating the simple carbohydrate intake is thus the way to go for reducing weight in the longer run.