Jan 112013

The Glycemic Load Diet.
Rob Thompson MD.
Page: 44-47
Nutritionists now rate foods according to their glycemic indexes, the amount a food raises blood glucose compared with a benchmark–usually white bread. An apple, for example, has a glycemic index of 52, which means that 50 grams of carbohydrate in an apple raises blood glucose levels 52 percent as much as 50 grams of carbohydrate in white bread.

Sounds quite scientific and easy to use except for one important fact. The index is “per 50 grams of carbohydrate” not 50 grams of the food or the “per serving” we are used to seeing as the standard on most nutrition labels. Researchers were not measuring the quantity of carbohydrate in a food but the impact of that food’s type of carbohydrate on blood glucose.

However, the amount of available carbohydrate in various plant-based foods varies tremendously. For example, because carrots contain so much water and unavailable carbohydrate in the form of indigestible fiber, to provide 50 grams of available carbohydrate, reserchers had to feed each subject seven full-size carrots. In contrast, to provide 50 grams of available carbohydrate in spaghetti, they had to feed subjects only a cupful.

Now, when you open the fridge do you grab 7 full size carrots? 7 carrots eaten together have a glycemic index of 68. A cup of spaghetti has an index of 64. So, even though almost equal in terms of glycemic index, a cup of spaghetti has 7 times the impact of a carrot on your blood sugar.

Correcting glycemic indexes for serving size exposes refined carbs as the culprits they really are. Bagels, for example, aren’t just a little worse than carrots, they’re terrible! You would have to eat 30 raw carrots to get the glucose shock you get from one bagel.

Adjusting a food’s glycemic index based on serving size is called a food’s glycemic load. Glycemic load, then, is a measure of the effect on blood sugar of a normal serving size of food. So, if we want to control blood sugar spikes and the body’s insulin response, the glycemic load and not glycemic index of a food is what we need to be concerned with.

Oct 252012

Steve Gibson is a computer and cyber-security expert who I have listened to for years on the “Security Now” podcast with Leo Laporte. Earlier this year he began experimenting with a very low-carb diet and began hinting about it while discussing his book recommendations in a couple of the April Security Now podcasts. In May he finally ‘came out’ with some details about his n=1 low-carb experiments in two TWIT special podcasts dedicated to the subject.

This Sunday, October 28th, Steve & Leo will be having a follow-up podcast. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. I have learned so much about nutrition, insulin, leptids, ketones, and the glycemic index in the last 5 months and feel I will need another 2 years just to understand what little I currently ‘know’.

On his website, Steve gives the following Q&A series to answer questions about very-low-carb living:

Question:What may be the SINGLE HEALTHIEST CHOICE YOU can make?
Answer:Choose to NEVER eat calorie-dense carbohydrate.
Question:“Calorie-dense carbohydrate???”  What’s that?
Answer:It’s the term we use here to mean any form of rice, any form of
corn, any form of potato, and anything made from wheat: bread,
donuts, cookies, crackers, chips, pretzels, and everything else. In
other words, any grain- or starch-based food.
Question:Whoa there!  That seems rather extreme!  Besides, I like cookies!
And what about whole grain? I thought that was good for me!
Answer:This is a complex topic, and it’s controversial, not because there’s
much doubt about it any longer, but because it’s not what anyone
(even me!) wants to discover is true . . . But I’m afraid that it is.
Question:Okay.  Hmmmmmm.  What if I just back off on those things a bit?
Answer:That doesn’t work, at all.  Perhaps you’ve tried that in the past?
I explain, below, why it must be total avoidance or don’t bother.
Truly amazing things happen if you are able to get over, onto the
other side of “The Sugar Hill”.  (And it is a bit of a hill to climb!)

On the latest Security Now podcast, Steve asked for listeners to write in with their experiences so far on a low-carb diet. Here is my summary of the last 5 months:


I dropped carbs shortly after listening to your 2nd Sugar Hill podcast in mid-May. I had done ‘Atkins’ 10 years ago but fell off the wagon. I think the reason I have been able to stick to it is that the idea of avoiding ‘calorie-dense’ carbs is much easier to do than trying to just ‘limit’ carbs.

Anyway, I am 6’0″ and started at 245.6 lbs. In 5 months I have dropped to 194.8 lbs bringing my BMI from 32.95 (obese) down to 26.5, not far from 24.9 where the government won’t consider me overweight. I have had to trade my size 40 pants for size 34s and buy L instead of XL shirts.

When I started I hoped to hit 185 lbs (24.9 BMI), but now that I am within 10 lbs I think I will blow past that. My goal, though, is not so much to lose more weight but to live healthy.

Thank-you for giving me the kick in the but I needed to get started.

In some future posts I will detail some of the resources I have found useful as well as my experiences in this new low-carb lifestyle.