Evaluating Glycemic Load
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale of 1 to 100 that measures a food’s impact on raising blood sugars or its glycemic load, the higher the number the higher the load.
- A white potato without skin has a GI of 98, while one raw apple has a 34 GI
The potato is considered a complex carb, while the apple is considered to be a simple carb. As you can see, the potato is much more likely to cause erratic spikes in blood sugar and weight gain than the apple.
One study proved this…
Doctors and other researchers in the Harvard Nurses Health Study (the largest epidemiological study conducted in the US into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women and has been going strong since 1976) found that baked potatoes and cold cereal were foods that contributed most to increasing blood sugar levels to an unacceptable level, known as “glycemic load”.
Therefore, low carb diets, like Ketogenic and Atkins take the viewpoint that all complex carbs are inhibitors to weight loss due to their high glycemic load and in order to induce ketosis (the goal of these diets) the body’s ability to burn fat for energy instead of dietary carbs.
In a strict low carb diet, complex carbs are eliminated or else the body will continue to turn them into glucose and use them for energy defeating the entire purpose of strict low carb, which is to induce ketosis where the body burns stored fat for energy instead of dietary carbs.
Maintaining Energy Levels
One of the common myths floating around is that carbs are the body’s only source of energy and one that is typically tough to replace. WRONG!
When you are following a very strict low carb diet, and eliminate carbs, your body will go into a metabolic state known as Ketosis, where it burns stored and dietary fat for energy, a perfectly safe process, and the reason why low carb is so successful in helping people to lose weight.
The body is highly adaptive, and many studies have shown that the body is more than capable of running on stored fats and maintaining energy levels. It may take a couple of weeks for the body to adjust, but in the end, those who succeed with low carb eating find they lose a lot of weight, and look and feel better than ever.
Additionally, when you reduce carb intake, you eliminate a fat storage process that results from eating them. When you eat carbs they turn into glucose in the bloodstream to be used as energy, but any that is not immediately used gets stored as fat.
Simple Carbohydrates Do Have Their Benefits
Many people testify to simple sugars having zero importance in the real world, however, this is not exactly correct. In fact, simple sugars do have a few unique uses under very specific circumstances and are thus important in conditional scenarios.
Pre-Workout Energy– Those who participate in the intense exercise, weightlifting, and endurance training need simple carbs to get through grueling workouts. Bodybuilders, for example, require glucose from carbs as that is what muscles use for energy during exercise. For this reason, there are two special versions of the ketogenic diet tailored for fitness enthusiasts and athletes.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet or CKD – This plan is widely used by athletes, bodybuilders, weightlifters and anyone participating in high-intensity exercise and features short periods of higher-carb refeeds with 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb intake days
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet or TKD – This plan is also used by bodybuilders, athletes and those who workout regularly to fuel intense workouts and includes high load carb intake based around workouts.
Pre-Workout Nutrition- Simple carbs can play a critical role in nutrition following your workout, although many people do not take advantage at this time and miss crucial recovery. Following a workout (especially weight training) muscle fibers are damaged and in critical need of recovery nutrients. However, not just anything will suffice at this time; in order to kick-start the recovery of muscle cells and shut down muscle catabolism, speed is important. Research has shown that a rapidly digesting protein shake and fast digesting glucose drink taken immediately following a workout reduced post-workout pain, results in increased muscle protein synthesis and makes the time
you spent working out worth it.
- Ease Of Digestion– simple carbs is important sources of energy for persons with digestive difficulties, or young children unable to handle complex digestion. In these cases, simple carbs are not only useful but also likely essential to the health and wellbeing of these persons.
- Emergency Fuel – simple carbs can be a lifesaver in persons suffering from acute hypoglycemia, such as is possible if a diabetic has overdosed on his medication, or mistook an insulin shot. In addition, athletes performing at a high level may experience periods of acute blood sugar drops, resulting in dizziness, nausea, and fainting, simple carbs are especially important at these times, as they can literally save your life.
As you can see, a definitive verdict cannot be reached into which is superior, as they each have distinct advantages. However, if you fall within normal parameters of health, chances are your needs for simple carbs will be much less.