It’s be awhile since I touched on the topic of good versus bad carbs, but it remains of critical importance. And it’s not as simple as counting the carbs on the label.
If it was, we’d all just go for the bread with the “no carb” label and be done with it and damn the sucralose that’s probably hiding inside.
As a quick primer between the evil refined carbohydrates and the angelic whole grains, this is a summary from a previous blog article:
- The whole grain contains the germ (the bulk of the protective nutrients), endosperm (the calories) and the bran (the fiber). To extend shelf life and increase palatability to the oblivious American public, the germ and bran is lopped off and we’re left with the endosperm–the calories minus some 90% of the phytonutrients that where present in the whole grain. The result is a devastating calorie rich/phytonutrient poor staple consumed by the vast majority of Americans. So “enriched wheat flour,” “sugar” and “high fructose corn syrup” all fall into this category.
- It is rare that someone truly understands the distinctions between the whole grain and refined carbohydrate, but this understanding is critical to health. Refined carbohydrates have been linked to pretty much every chronic disease, while whole grains generally protect. Opposite ends of the spectrum. Despite this clear difference and the very clear research that states that refined carbohydrates are pretty much evil, our national recommendations still do not tell us to avoid them.
When we refer to they glycemic index of foods, we are referring to how fast they show up as sugar in the blood stream. Low GI means that sugar trickles slowly into your system, while a high GI level indicates that the sugar from that meal is pretty much in your blood by the time you even smell it.
This particular study looked at the effects of a high GI meal versus a low GI meal on certain parameters in the blood of a small group of volunteers. In addition, researchers looked at how hungry they were 4 hours after the meal (around that time that you may be thinking about your next meal or even taking a quick look in the pantry). Here’s what they found:
- Glucose was 2.4-fold greater after the high- than the low-GI meal.
- Plasma glucose was lower and reported hunger was greater 4 hours after the high- than the low-GI meal.
- The high-GI meal elicited greater brain activity centered in the right nucleus accumbens–the area of the brain related to addiction.
This means that starting the day with a poor choice for breakfast, such as a fast food croissant sandwich, poor quality oatmeal, Cheerios or most low-quality cereals will likely sabotage the REST OF YOUR DAY! Of course, the same goes for all the meals of your day, but it seems to me that starting out on the right foot is the best option.