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Carbohydrates and added sugars

The body has as primary source of energy Carbohydrates, that can be broken down into smaller parts and used as glucose. Carbohydrates are molecules of sugar divided in 2 categories, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates or sugars are faster absorbed by the organism. They include fructose, glucose and lactose, and can be found in fruits and simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates or starches need to be processed by the organism and take longer to be absorbed. Those are found in vegetables, grains and cereals.

All sugars are carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are sugars. Most processed foods and beverages contain added sugars, such as soft drinks, candy and dairy desserts. This type of sugar is chemically indistinguishable from naturally occurring sugars, so it’s important to read the label to understand of much sugars are contained in the carbohydrates. Other than energy, sugar has no nutritional value, and that is why it’s recommended to consume complex carbohydrates (1) (2).

Because sugars are an empty calories, the negative effects of eating and drinking food with excess of sugar can lead to weight gain, increase of rest glycemia and insulin production, leading to potential heart diseases. Choosing foods that contain wheat grain and kernel, also called whole grain foods, provides not only fibres, but also other nutrients found in starchy foods. Therefore, the consumption of whole grain foods not only improves the digestive system, by the ingestion of more fibres, but also helps control blood sugar levels, since whole grain possess complex carbohydrates and take longer to be absorbed by the organism (1).

The bulgur wheat and 12 grains bread are good example of whole grains. As an added sugar sample I used a picture of Ginger ale.

Below here I have a personal recipe using Bulgur wheat.


Pumpkin stuffed Kibe

· 500g of bulgur wheat

· 750g of pumpkin cooked in large cubes

· 250g of ground beef (medium to lean)

· 120g White onion brunoise

· 120g White onion to blend

· 100g of mint leaves

· 100g of basil leaves

· 3 garlic cloves to blend

· 3 garlic cloves to mince

· 60ml olive oil

· Salt and pepper to season

· 120g of ricotta cheese

· 120g of cream cheese

· 1 liter of sunflower oil

· Hot water

The dough

Wash the bulgur wheat in running water two to three times, or until the water is clear;

Put hot water on the wheat, covering for 2 centimeters, leave 15-20 minutes;

Drain and squeeze the wheat well to and place in a large bowl;

Blend together mint, basil, onion and 3 garlic cloves;

Add the drained hot pumpkin to the hydrated bulgur, the processed spices and mix very well until everything is together, add salt and pepper to season.

The dough has to stay in a good consistency to roll.


In a pan saute the ground beef with half olive oil, minced garlic and the chopped onion brunoise, when the meat is well cooked, add mint and basil if desired;

In a bowl mix the ricotta with the cream cheese and reserve;


Grease a baking sheet, and put half the dough, add the braised ground beef spread well, place the cheese mixture and cover with the other half; using a spatula to make the cover even. Make rectangles with fork, drizzle with olive oil and bake 200C in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden.

Assembly 2

Use your hands to make balls about 5 centimeters in diameter, make a hole in the middle and fill with ground beef and cheese mixture; close the tips well and fry in hot oil until golden.

The recipe for one of the two assemblies, if you want to make the two assemblies on the same day, double the amount of the ingredients.

Tip1: If you take off the ground beef, it can be a Lactovegetarian meal;

Tip2: If you take off the ground beef and cheese, it can be a vegan meal.

Serve with hummus and eggplant antipasti.

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