Carb Counters - are all carbs the same?

View Full Version : are all carbs the same?

02-17-2012, 02:33 PM
i'm trying to stay away from processed carbs and anything excessively starchy. so i still eat fruit, and a bit of beans and nuts, and vegetables (but no potatoes etc.). i'm not going to be strict on this because telling me i can't have something just makes me want it more. so i will indulge a LITTLE when i go out to dinner like once a week.

my question is, if i'm "indulging a little"--is eating a big plate of pasta just as bad as having a slice of cake? I know certain carbs, such as brown rice, are not as bad as sugar...but what about processed carbs like pasta or white rice--are those as bad as sugar?

02-17-2012, 10:18 PM
Basically, there ate two types of carbs, simple and complex. The simple ones are the ones you really want to avoid, always from refined sources like sugar and white flour. Your body rapidly digests it and it gets right into your blood stream.

In nature, the source of those simple sugars, they're not processed, so they're not simple at all. They're always combined with a lot of fiber. And that fiber is what slows the digestion of the complex carbs way down, slowly releasing the carb into your system.

Fruit, wheat, sugar cane, a maple tree...not processed, lots of fiber. Jelly, pasta, sugar, syrup...processed, no fiber.

How "bad" is the big plate of pasta vs slice of cake with frosting? Depends on how much you're eating. Ounce per ounce, cake is going to be a higher in carbs, mostly because there's only wheat in the pasta. The cake's got sugar in it too. Whole wheat pasta is going to be a much better choice because it's got more fiber in it.

And that's just the start of making the right choices. But I'll leave all that to you.

02-17-2012, 11:34 PM
A term you might want to research is "glycemic index" - this will tell you how much different foods will spike your blood sugar.

For the most part, make your carbs count - fiber and vitamins. Cake is not a great choice, but I don't limit any particular food just because (but - I am primarily a calorie counter, and make sure my limited carbs are good carbs)

02-17-2012, 11:51 PM
I think you have to experiment to find your own reaction to the foods you eat. I often thought (during times when I wasn't losing weight) that I was eating very healthfully (and by "common wisdom" I was). I didn't eat much junk food, I got most (sometimes all) of my carbs from "whole food" sources, and yet I ate more than enough to maintain severe morbid obesity.

A few years ago, my doctor recommended low-carb, but warned me not to go too low (though admitting he had no idea what would be too low), so I started logging my food and my health symptoms, and started experimenting.

To make a long story short, I found out some things about myself (some people might try the same experiments and get different results). I found that wheat causes and aggravates some of my health issues and causes water retention more than just about anything else. It doesn't take much wheat to trigger noticeable symptoms within about 12 hours.

Refined sugar and flour also trigger symptoms (but it takes much larger quantities to see symptoms, and the symptoms aren't quite as severe even if I do eat a lot of them).

Healthy carbs (from fruit and whole grains) also trigger symptoms, but it takes much greater amounts and the symptoms are generally less severe unless I'm eating insane portions (but I easily can overeat "healthy carbs" to the point of making myself ill. Every year during Ranier cherry season I eat myself sick. It doesn't usually impact on my weight, in fact I usually lose weight, but I also end up with significant IBS symptoms and headaches - I call it "cherry hangover").

I think all you can do is experiment and let your weight loss and physical comfort be your guide.

In the effort of trying to make a long story short, my doctor recommended

02-22-2012, 03:39 PM
Simple sugars are not equal.

Fructose (found in fruit) is good in small quantities because it doesn't influence insulin. Its bad in large quantities because it doesn't influence insulin, which controls hunger.

Normally if you eat sugar, your insulin levels rise, which decreases hunger. Fructose does not do this. So you can eat and eat, but you won't feel satisfied.