Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Skinny on the Skinny -

The other day I was listening to a health show on the radio and heard some very reasonable information. See if this resonates with you...

When you eat sugar it spikes your blood sugar level. And the exact same thing happens when you eat starches because they turn into sugar in your system. When you spike your blood sugar level, your body has to work to bring it back to normal. And if there's more sugar in your bloodstream than you can use at that time, it gets stored in your cells... as fat.

That's my rudimentary interpretation of a very complex process, but I got it from Dr. Rob Thompson, a cardiologist and author of "The Low Starch Diabetes Solution," "The Glycemic Load Diet" and "The Glycemic Load Cookbook."  In those books, Thomspon suggests eliminating starches to lose weight, lower blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol.

"White bread, brown bread, white rice, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, corn, pasta, breakfast cereals, oatmeal, pancakes, English muffins, potato chips and corn bread," Thomspon says. "As soon as they reach your digestive tract they turn to sugar and will raise your blood sugar."

I know this is a list of some of our favorite comfort foods, but consider this little gem from Thompson, "On their own they don't have much taste - it's what you put on them that brings the taste." Think about it - who eats dry toast (except people with the flu) or naked pasta (two-year-olds)? Every food on that list needs something to turn it into the tempting diet busters we crave. "Stay away from starches and you will see some changes," Thompson says. "Eat what you want, but eliminate three products - flour products, potato products, and rice."

For those of you who have cleansed with us, by virtue of eliminating gluten we've stopped eating a number of foods on the list. But we still eat steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa and gluten-free pasta. And even though they don't contain gluten they still have the same effect as the other starches. So if you want to shed some pounds during a cleanse, consider dropping your intake of gluten-free starches and upping your intake of tofu, leafy greens and veggies.

For most of us, it's unrealistic to eliminate all starches completely, but we can certainly give more thought to how much starch  we're consuming. 


  1. Hi Ivy,

    I gotta admit -- I find this a little depressing. I can see getting rid of white rice, but I thought brown rice and quinoa were complex carbs, meaning they take longer for your body to digest - affecting the blood sugar levels more slowly. If what I'm hearing in your blog is true, these foods are the same as eating white rice. Am I wrong?

    It's so funny because when you remove one thing, another one becomes the substitute. I feel like I'm playing with that toddler's toy where you push down on one button and another one pops up and makes a noise and surprises you. You know what I mean?

    Maybe I'm just crabbing because I want to know what my "safe" foods are -- the ones I can eat without having a negative response - physical or emotional!

    I got that other book you recommended and so far, so good!!!

    Hope you are doing great, Ivy!!!


  2. Hi, Maggie!

    Love your analogy - they hadn't come up with that game when I was a kid, but I think the carnival game version is what we lovingly call "Whack-a-mole," right? And it's so true.

    Here's the deal - I could never presume to present a well-researched, scientific answer on the chemical processes of the body. But what this cardiologist was saying made sense to me. And he had done the research - not only clinically, but on himself after he was diagnosed with diabetes.

    None of what we're learning points to a stringent all-or-nothing way of eating and living; I see it as a way of informing our choices. Some rice, quinoa - even German chocolate cake - every once in a while isn't bad. I think it's when we're eating it every day, twice a day that we're probably going to get into trouble.

    And I think that's the point- if you're having a hard time shedding pounds, that's probably a good first place to look. Are you having oatmeal in the morning? A sandwich for lunch? Rice or pasta at dinner? That adds up - and quickly. So maybe you drop it down to one serving a day instead of three or four.

    And I found it so interesting to consider that all of these foods, by themselves, aren't very tasty. Instead, it's the sauce on the pasta, the sweetener on the oatmeal, and the butter or jam on the toast that make it taste so good.

    In your case, I suspect you don't have anything to worry about - you're already such a healthy eater. So relax, fire up the toaster, and have a nice Sunday morning!

    Things are good here, Maggie - thanks for the good wishes. And I hope all's well with you and that you're getting ready for an incredible ski season!

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!