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Kannon Smith 05-01-2008 11:37 PM

Superiority of Carbohydrates
What is it that makes one carbohydrate better than another?

Why is three cups of broccoli better than an apple?

An apple better than some oatmeal?

Oatmeal better than a bagel?

Why are veggies > all other sources?

I’m not claiming this is wrong… I believe it is right… But why? Why aren’t all carbohydrates equal? What gives veggies superiority over all other carbohydrates? Why do I eat a pound and a half of veggies a day instead of a few apples, oranges and some pineapple?

Thank you!

Robert Austin 05-02-2008 01:43 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
Well from all my reading the basic reason that veggies are better than other carbs is based on the insulin spike that they cause, or rather the relative limited insulin spike. See the more refined or simple(that is closer to straight glucose, fructose or sucrose) a carb is, the higher the insulin spike it causes will be. As such vegetables which contain far fewer amounts of simple sugars and more complex carbs cause a smaller insulin spike.
Regulating insulin is the key to proper health. If someone constantly eats simple carbs i.e. bread pasta candy sugar soda etc.. their insulin will be at a constantly elevated level which at a minimum may lead to insulin resistance(your cells become unresponsive to insulin) which leads to type 2 diabetes.
Of course there is a lot more to all this, but I would recommend reading up on it yourself. Some very good books on the subject are Entering the Zone and Mastering the Zone, both by Barry Sears. And a very good book full of info and very well documented is the book Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.
Hope that helps

Elliot Fuller 05-02-2008 02:01 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
I haven't read it yet myself, but it's my understanding that "Good Calories, Bad Calories," as mentioned by Robert, is an excellent base to start learning this sort of thing.

The Zone books touch on it in principle but not really in science or background. I'd start with Gary Taubes' book.

Brandon Oto 05-02-2008 03:50 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
Aside from the other qualities of a food, one carb source differs from another mainly in how long it takes you to digest it.

Scott Kustes 05-02-2008 07:38 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
There's also the issue of nutrient:calorie ratio. Vegetables tend to be calorically sparse and nutrient dense. Grains tend to be nutrient sparse and calorically dense. Fruit falls in the middle.

David Wood 05-02-2008 08:06 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
Read up on "lectins" to understand a potential downside of grains, at least for some people.

Darrell E. White 05-02-2008 10:30 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
It's all about the GLYCEMIC INDEX (how fast the carbs are processed by your GI tract) and the GLYCEMIC LOAD (how many carbs are present per unit of volume in a given source. You want a LOW glycemic index so that the carbs are absorbed more slowly, leading to a relatively slow and shallow insulin rise after a meal. You want a LOW glycemic load so that you are more full after a meal, thus not having a sense of hunger due to inadequate volume.

Some fruits (bananas) and some veggies (corn) have a high GI and a relatively high GL and are therefore not as favorable as others. In general, most processed foods have high amounts of high GI sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup; this leads to a pronounced insulin spike and is undesireable. Bread, pasta, rice, and white potatoes are all relatively unfavorable.

Hope that helps.

Brandon Oto 05-02-2008 10:33 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
Glycemic load is a combination of GI and carb count. GI x grams of carbs = GL. (Actually I think you divide by 100, but whatever.)

Adam Snyder 05-02-2008 10:47 AM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
[QUOTE=Darrell E. White;303510]
Some fruits (bananas) and some veggies (corn) have a high GI and a relatively high GL and are therefore not as favorable as others.

I'd just like to note that corn is a grain, not a vegetable. See [url][/url] (wfs).

Ryan Jones 05-02-2008 04:44 PM

Re: Superiority of Carbohydrates
[QUOTE=Adam Snyder;303518]I'd just like to note that corn is a grain, not a vegetable. See [url][/url] (wfs).[/QUOTE]

Yeah, carrots would be the [I]bad[/I] veggie.

Another thing to keep in mind is that fiber and fat lower the GI/GL of a meal, thats why ice cream isn't so bad for you and has a low GI even though its full of sugar (also full of fat). Also why you want to drink whole milk over skim milk. Whenever I cheat with a bad carb and feel guilty I pound a handful of nuts :p.

The higher the GI, the faster the sugar enters your blood, the higher your blood sugar, the more insulin you secrete, the more glucose gets shoved in the liver, the quicker the liver fills up, the more gets stored as fat. Heres somewhat of an explanation of what insulin does:

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