A research study hot off the presses strongly suggests that it is not carbohydrate per se that makes people gain weight, but rather the type of carbohydrate that they eat. Of 572 adults, those who ate more refined grains, starchy vegetables (such as white potatoes), white flour, and similar low-nutrition carbohydrates were significantly heavier than those who ate foods containing healthier carbohydrates, such as whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, and nuts and seeds. In short, body weights were higher in people who consumed more foods that are rapidly absorbed (i.e., those with a higher glycemic effect) and cause spikes in blood glucose (to more than 140 mg/dl).
I’m not the least bit surprised by the findings of that study; in fact, the results are exactly what I would have expected. Since I have researched only the effects of exercise and not of diet, how could I possibly have predicted the outcome in advance? It’s easy, really: that study’s findings reflect what we already know about the benefits of healthier carbohydrates and higher fiber intake as well as my personal experiences with controlling my own blood sugar levels while eating different types of carbohydrates. All carbohydrates should never be taboo, but we can certainly benefit from limiting our intake of more refined carbohydrates.
Next week, I’ll continue the discussion on nutrition and diabetes fitness.