As you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. Bread is a fermentable carbohydrate, as is any sugar easily fermented through your digestive system. Fermentable carbohydrates include oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Fermentable carbohydrates are composed of short chains of sugar molecules, making them easy to break down.
Lactose, more commonly known as milk sugar, is a fermentable carbohydrate. Not everyone's system has the means necessary to break it down easily, however. Lactose intolerance is a condition that affects people who are missing the enzyme necessary to break down lactose. These people usually need to substitute milk alternatives or take special supplements to help them digest lactose. Sometimes, avoiding all dairy products is the only way to find relief from lactose intolerance.
The chewing process breaks down the starches in grains into a fermentable carbohydrate called fructan. This is why doctors advise their patients to cut down on pasta, bread, and cereals when they are serious about losing weight. All three items break down into simple sugars, and too many servings can cause quick weight gain if the individual does not maintain sufficient physical activity.
Inulin and beta-glucan are fermentable carbohydrates found in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. These are the best fermentable carbohydrates when it comes to weight management and appetite control. They contain a lot of dietary fiber that will help you feel fuller longer. If you want to control your appetite and manage your weight, consider adding asparagus, garlic, leeks, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama root, mushrooms, bananas, and cereal grains to your diet.
The initial breakdown of fermentable carbohydrates takes place in the mouth; saliva begins the breakdown process. Think of chewing a sandwich: you can taste the savory, grainy goodness, but as you chew you combine the food with saliva. At this point, you may notice a sweeter taste, because the bread is breaking down into sugar. Your saliva contains an enzyme called salivary amalyse or ptyalin whose sole purpose is to break down starches into sugars.
The breakdown of fermentable carbohydrates results in the development of acids in your mouth. These acids can start the tooth decay process until they are rinsed away again by passing saliva. The new influx of saliva can repair the damage by laying down new calcium to replace the decayed portion. Of course, you should not rely on saliva alone. Brushing your teeth after every meal or at least twice a day will cut down on the risk of tooth decay. Gargling with an anti-plaque mouthwash will also help break down the acids and plaque before you brush.
A diet loaded with fermentable carbohydrates can lead to unwanted symptoms in the digestive tract. Once the sugars reach the large intestine, bacteria rapidly ferment them. Within your gut and colon are both good and bad bacteria. Adding bacteria can throw off this balance. Too much bad bacteria in the gut or colon can trigger irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in sensitive individuals prone to gastrointestinal symptoms. Some people experience excess gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Maintaining a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates will help alleviate these symptoms.
Cookies, candy, and sugary snacks have a reputation for high sugar content. They are often the leading suspects when it comes to diagnoses of hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder. However, when it comes to anxiety and aggression, fermentable carbohydrates appear to be the culprits. Even people diagnosed with and treated for anxiety should maintain diets low in fermentable carbohydrates to help control symptoms.
People with diabetes should know that blatantly sugary foods like cookies and candies are not the only things that can exacerbate the condition. Even healthy fruits and vegetables break down into sugars. Once again, minimizing the number of fermentable carbohydrates goes a long way toward healthy blood sugar levels.
A large bowl of chili with many different types of beans and legumes is likely to significantly raise your blood sugar. Beans and legumes are fermentable carbohydrates that break down into the sugar galactan. Though beans and legumes assist the gastrointestinal tract, they can also trigger irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. People with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts should limit their consumption of beans and legumes.
Doctors may encourage you to introduce more fruits into your everyday diet, but it's important to remember that these healthy foods can also have an adverse effect on blood sugar and weight loss. Yes, fruit contains the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay healthy, but too much can be detrimental. Most fruit contains natural sugars, and the fruit itself breaks down into additional sugars. People with diabetes may want to stick to fruit that produces the least fermentable carbohydrates, such as bananas, blueberries, and grapefruit.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.