19 November 2010

Nerd Post.. on carbs and sugar and how our body processes..still good info

I was a general liberal arts and science major.. so I go both ways when it comes to learning stuff..
its the awful nerd in me..

So I have a blog world acquiantance, his name is Frank, and he has a PhD from UC Berkley in (bacteriology of all things) and we got talking about sugar and carbs.. I am so convinced that no matter what I may think.. carbs are my enemy..  and when I have a dose of high sugar ,,,my body goes crazy... think like a crack addict crazy.

What Frank speaks to below is in simpliest of terms what goes on in your body when you eat high sugar foods.
The trick is that when you do .. combine it with a protein to offset that sugar spike/drop affect that will soon follow..
I needed to know this so I don't go into a tail spin craving more sugar.. that is the simpliest of terms but ...

 Frank offers the following to  gain a better scientific understanding..

Warning.. your head my hurt after reading.. but it does give you some insight into how the body processes food (particularly if you have diabetes or are borderline)..

In Franks own words...

While it's true that all digestible carbohydrates end up as single sugars when they are metabolized, it is important to remember that your body must metabolize those sugars.
Therein lies the problem.

Complex carbohydrates are metabolized at a slower rate than simple sugars.

When complex carbohydrates are metabolized, the slow release of simple sugars gives your system time to adapt to the increased levels. This means that your insulin levels rise gradually, and your cellular uptake of sugars also happens gradually.

However, when you dump a large amount of simple sugar into your system, your insulin level has to rise quickly to accomodate it. Then what happens is that your sugar levels plummet suddenly, and you are left with excess insulin.

Anyway, when this is repeated over and over again, as when we consume cookies, cakes, candy and pop, your systems ultimately tire out and you get Type II diabetes. The rapidity with which sugars are released into your system is known as the "glycemic index", and there's a lot written about it.

Now that I have Type II diabetes from taking some steroid drugs, it has become necessary to monitor my blood sugar (glucose) levels.
I have found that if you pay attention to foods that retard sugar absorption vs foods that rapidly release glucose, you can control it reasonably well and avoid glucose and insulin spikes.

Here is my working model:
  • Foods that release sugar rapidly can be eaten in limited amounts, so long as they are consumed with other foods that slow sugar absorption.
  • Foods that slow sugar absorption are high in either protein or fat, or both. Examples: meat, fish, oils etc.
  • Foods that release sugar quickly: anything sweet, including honey, sugar, fruit and fruit juices. Simple carbohydrates are better, but still release sugar quickly. These include anything with simple starches, like flour and potatoes, regardless of whether "whole wheat" or other claims are made.
  • Complex carbohydrate foods, which release sugar slowly, include legumes (beans), and high starch nuts (peanuts, cashews, pecans).

  • Foods that are fried in oil, like potato chips and batter dipped items release sugar slowly because they are digested slowly.

Now that helps me.. If I DO go off track and eat a candy bar.. it probably would be a good idea to follow with a piece of cheese, meat or otherwise protein based food.

It made me think about that hummus ice cream combo.. I probably didn't realize that after all that WAS a good thing... go figure..


  1. Yes! This makes sense and it does work. Great post Barb!

  2. That wasn't so bad at all! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Great information, thanks for sharing!

  4. Awesome Share Babs! Great info! *Maria*

  5. Great info! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Makes a whole lot of sense to me....thanks Barb!

  7. I love the nerd in you....it helps me learn aboutthings! Great post Barb!

  8. Interesting post, thanks!!