The Importance of Food Choices in Fitness

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.


4 thoughts on “The Importance of Food Choices in Fitness

  1. Florian

    I am a Type1 who was diagnosed in 1967 at age 30. I am using the Animas 2020 with Apidra. I am 6′ 2″ and weigh 180 with a body fat of 14% (Tanita scale). I have been lifting weights twice a week with the specific purpose of gaining weight (lean muscle mass). I am trying to work out a meal plan, calorie intake, and exercise routine that will allow me to lose some body fat and build some muscle. My goal is to reach 185 and then 190. Do you have any suggestions as to what kind of foods I should be eating to accomplish this goal plus keep my blood sugars in control? What would a typical daily meal plan be for my work out days,Tues and Thurs.?

    From the research discussed above a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts might do it……Just kidding

  2. Sheri Colberg, PhD

    For gaining muscle mass, the recommendation is usually that you try to gain one pound per week or so, but it can take longer. You have to be careful about what you’re eating and doing or else you’ll just gain it as body fat. You may want to go to lifting three non-consecutive days per week, doing 2-3 sets of no more than 12 reps (fatiguing yourself) for maximal gains in muscle mass. You’ll need to eat at least enough calories to replace what you use during weight training (usually only about 200-300 calories), plus enough extra to gain one pound of muscle per week (which takes about 2,000 calories). It’s best to increase your intake of lean protein sources, like tuna in water or egg whites, by up to 14 grams of protein daily. If you do that along with replacing the lost calories, your diet should be adequate. Fourteen grams of protein is not that much–found in two ounces of lean meat, for example. With the other calories you take in to replace what you use, focus more on lower-glycemic ones that don’t rapidly raise blood sugars. I can’t really give you a meal plan because I don’t know how many calories you normally eat or need to eat. Just focus on eating the extra 14 grams of protein per day and enough calories to be in caloric balance on the days you work out.

  3. Florian

    Sheri, thanks for the reply. I will try some of your good suggestions and see what happens. I am planning to attend the DESA Conf in Toronto this summer. If you are there I will say hello and let you know if it was successful. Thanks again.

  4. Sheri Colberg, PhD

    Definitely come say hi to me in Toronto. I’m speaking on Saturday at the conference, but will be attending the whole thing as I am on the DESA Board of Directors.


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