Seaweed & Algae
• Up to 40% Soluble fiber (agar, carrageenan, & alginate )
Potatoes, breads, cereals, and other foods high in complex carbohydrates have long been regarded as cheap , a staple for the poor. Now, as diets high in fats are increasingly linked to heart disease and some cancers. A high dietary fiber (found mostly in complex carbohydrates) seen as an alternative, to reduce the possible risk of colon cancer and heart disease. The Americans now well aware/learning that a 5-ounce steak has more calories than an equal amount of bread, pasta or potatoes without butter.
The complex carbohydrates more and more becoming the food for health-conscious diners.
What Are Complex Carbohydrates & polysaccharide?
U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop in his 1988 Report on Nutrition and Health recommended reduction in four areas (fats and cholesterol, weight, sodium and alcohol). Only one area received a positive recommendation from the Surgeon General - "complex carbohydrates and fiber." His suggestion: "Increase consumption of whole grain foods and cereal products, vegetables (including dried beans and peas), and fruits."
John Vanderveen, director of the division of nutrition at FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, advices to let complex carbohydrates make up about 55 percent of the calories in our daily diet. The amount of fat making up for 30 percent and protein the remainder.
A single starch molecule may contain from 300 to 1,000 or more sugar units. The giant molecules are packed side by side in a plant root or seed, providing energy for the plant.
All starches are plant materials. Cereal grains, such as wheat, rice and corn, are rich sources of starch, constituting a large part of the world's food supply, generally in the form of breads and pastas. Starches are also found in potatoes, legumes and seaweed.
Starches (and proteins) provide only four calories per gram, while fat provides nine calories per gram. Without the toppings, or with only moderate amounts, complex carbohydrate foods can be less fattening than animal-protein foods that naturally contain fat.
Along with starches, fiber - the other important category of complex carbohydrates - is also gaining popularity for health reasons. (See, "Fiber: Something Healthy to Chew On" in the June 1985 FDA Consumer.)
Diebetics also may benefit from a diet high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat and sugar, according to the American Dietetic Association. Some researchers believe that dietary fiber improves the ability of diabetics to process blood sugar.
High-fiber breakfast cereals also are showing substantial sales gains. At the same time, awareness that fiber may help prevent colon and other cancers has tripled, according to FDA studies. All together those dieters, athletes, and other health-conscious people have made complex carbohydrates - once a simple staple for the poor - into a new-found "in" food.