November 29, 2011

Good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates

There is a such a thing as good carbohydrates and bad. In the past they used to call bad carbohydrates simple sugars and good carbohydrates complex sugars. Today they have changed this to referring to good carbohydrates as those which release glucose slowly into the blood stream. They call these low glycemic carbohydrates. High glycemic carbohydrates cause blood glucose levels to spike almost immediately after you’ve consumed them. A high glycemic carbohydrate may be white bread or a sugary breakfast cereal. Having said this, though, just because a carbohydrate has a high glycemic value does not mean it is bad. Some varieties of carrot can have a high glycemic value, but for it to provide a great burst of glucose into your blood stream, you’d need to eat an awful lot of carrots. High glycemic carbohydrates can also become useful when you want a sudden burst of energy. I was actually just reading that consuming high glycemic food in the three hour period after training can facilitate muscle building. Low glycemic carbohydrates become useful when you want sustained energy throughout the day. The rate at which glucose is released into your blood stream can also be slowed if you combine a low glycemic carb with a high glycemic carb. Alternatively, if you combine a source of protein with a high glycemic carb, this can also slow the absorption of glucose into the blood stream.

As a general rule, a bad carbohydrate would be a heavily processed carbohydrate such as a frosted donut mentioned earlier. A good carbohydrate would be an apple or a slice of wholemeal or wholegrain bread.

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