What makes a carbohydrate slow release?

3D image of what a polysaccharide chain of sugars could look like
3D image of what a polysaccharide chain of sugars could look like

There have been several blogs on the advantages of quinoa’s slow release carbohydrates (or sugars) for both the sportsperson and all those wanting to avoid a mid-afternoon raid of the biscuit tin. But it wasn’t until today that anyone explained why this was the case.

Jonathan, a biology wiz friend of mine kindly explained. It’s a long word, but the sugars or carbohydrates you find in quinoa are polysaccharides. Basically that means that they are long chains of sugars all stuck together. For the body to be able to digest them it has to chip of little bits of sugar as and when they are needed. Quick release sugars, the sort of sugar you find in a can of Coke or a biscuit, are monosaccharides or disaccharides (one or two sugar molecules stuck together). Because they come in simpler forms they are instantly available to the body. This creates those sugar peaks in the blood. Unless you are running a marathon, these tend to be converted to fat, as the body has no immediate use for them.

A bit like an ice cube versus a slush puppy. Both are made of frozen water molecules, but it takes far longer for an ice

cube to melt than a slush puppy of the same size.

So if you want to feel fuller for longer and avoid a sugar rush, go for those long chains of polysaccharides!

So there you have it. I thought it was interesting at least.