Friday, November 8, 2013

Low-Carb vs Paleo

I've gone Paleo. Really, I've been Paleo for a long while, but probably haven't talked about it. That was the point of the transition to Paleo Snow. Anyway -- within the past year, a lot of information has come out that suggests that it's easier than it was thought before to lose weight while consuming a lot of carbs, and that certain types of carbs (e.g. resistant starches) can aid digestion and health without spiking blood glucose.

I'm still very much against spiking blood glucose. I think it's harmful to your health. Very harmful. And that's the thing about resistant starches -- RS by itself tends to be great at blunting blood sugar spikes caused by other foods, and RS by itself (vs with a high-carb food that just happens to also contain RS) doesn't get digested as sugars would. In other words, RS is technically a carb but it doesn't act like it. We hate carbs because of their behavior, not because of their chemical blueprint.

The best source seems to be potato starch. I've seen some people go on potato binges due to some recent hoopla about a potato diet working; being filling at low caloric levels, ie weight loss without feeling like you're starved. That's the other half of this commentary: high carb doesn't seem to be universally evil.

But what annoys me to no end is that WHO CARES. Some people like drama. The low-carb crowd says "carbs are evil!", and they are, but as I said that's because of how they behave when you eat them. And the potato crowd is all "but potatoes are awesome so you're totally wrong neener neener!" It's like a bunch of grade school students. The difference is this fine point -- here's a new discovery about this thing that's technically a carb but doesn't act like it. Is everyone familiar with that fine point? Well if they're not, then they're not idiots -- they're just not read up on all the latest and greatest.

Here's an important point about communication: if you've got a wide audience, diverse in their sophistication and education and the time they have to read esoteric journals, being precise tends to lose most of the audience. Only the pedants follow along. No-one else cares. Start your message with a gross over-simplification.

1. Carbs are evil

See, isn't that nice? Gross oversimplification results in a mostly-true statement that's very easy to remember.

2. That's because they spike blood glucose, which is bad
3. Not all carbs do this, though
4. And that might depend on how you cook the carb

Is statement #1 wrong? Not exactly. It's not universally true, and the exceptions are pretty nit-picky. Depending on how much time you have in your life to care about whether you should parboil, broil, bake, mash, ferment, fry, deepfry, refry, boil-then-bake, bake-then-cool, blah blah... man, I'm bored with this message, why would you be reading it?

#1 Carbs are evil.

If you've got time in your life for more (and if you're a parent or have health problems, you damn better have more time), then yeah, feel free to move on to the later points. High blood sugar is bad. What's important is how the food is digested.

Probably the best thing to do is to stay the hell away from all high- or medium-carb foods. Onions have carbs, should you be scared? No. Supplement with resistant starch, cuz it does good things for your digestive tract. Maybe cold rice on rare occasions, but as a treat -- don't go seeking it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment