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Good Carbs Are Good for Business

Bakers Need to Educate Patrons about Good Carbs / Bad Carbs
 
Carbs got a bad rap when it was discovered that some carbs, such as refined white breads, cause people to have a high blood glucose response, which is associated with type 2 diabetes. However, stoneground whole wheat and products with old-fashioned oats are metabolized slowly, lowering the glucose spike. These grainy, unrefined baked goods are considered "good carbs.-  
 
Humans NEED carbohydrates to survive, just like they need protein and fat (www.mckinley.uiuc.edu). Whole grains have the added bonus of being high in fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease and obesity. Educated dieters read labels, and smart bakers cater to the health-conscious consumer by offering stoneground, "good carb- options. Bakers can go a step further and show the glycemic index of the product, and provide explanatory materials about the ingredients. 
 
Carb-consciousness can be viewed as an opportunity, rather than a detriment. Mike Marcucci, CEO of Chicago-based Alpha Baking Co., talked about the future of the baking industry at an American Society of Baking conference, stating, •Wholesale bakers will sell more profitable whole grain, low-carb variety breads and less white bread, especially private label, which is almost impossible to make money on. It's much healthier for the consumer, and it's much healthier for the baker.•
 
A Study Worth Referencing
 
In 1997 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that oatmeal and oat-based products are beneficial to the heart by significantly reducing total cholesterol.  With this finding, the FDA approved the use of labels claiming the health benefit on food products containing whole oat sources of soluble fiber.  Since that time, additional data has continued to be collected and analyzed.  Analyses of the new data consistently agree with the 1997 FDA review.  The more recent analyses also suggest oatmeal and oat-based products may contain additional health benefits, including reducing the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain (www.namamillers.org).
 
An abstract of a paper that reviews these analyses was published in the January/February 2008 issue of American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.   Dr. James W. Anderson, professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a co-author of the study, stated, •Whole-grain products like oatmeal are among some of the best foods one can eat to improve cholesterol levels, in addition to other lifestyle choices.  Lifestyle choices, such as diet, should be the first line of therapy for most patients with moderate cholesterol risk given the expense, safety concerns, and intolerance related to cholesterol-lowering drugs.•

By Neil Whitehall
Get Baker Jobs, Contributing Editor

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