Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that the body uses for energy. There are many kinds of sugar: sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose and maltose. The body produces insulin to metabolize sugar so that the body’s cells can use it to produce energy. Starches are made up of multiple sugar molecules linked together. So when a person eats rice, pasta, and potatoes their body quickly breaks these down into sugars. When there is sugar in the blood stream, some of it attaches to red blood cells before the insulin can reach it. Red blood cells that have sugars attached to them can no longer perform their work of carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues. A blood test can reveal an individual’s glycemic index, known as your hemoglobin A1c level – the percentage of red blood cells in the body that have been damaged by excessive sugar in the blood. In general your A1c level should be under 5; above 7 a person is at risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Insulin, while it’s essential to enable the body to metabolize sugar, is in itself harmful and must be broken down once it’s done its job. The molecule that breaks down insulin in the body also protects against the development of Alzheimer's Disease. Unfortunately it can't do both at once, so if a person’s insulin levels are kept too high by over-consumption of carbohydrates it therefore increases the probability of developing Alzheimer's Disease as well as an increased risk of Type II Diabetes. All in all, these are very good reasons to moderate one’s intake of simple sugars such as those found in soft drinks, candy, ice-cream, cookies and cakes and complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes.