Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fascinating Facts least to me.

I am learning all about glycemic index, and it fascinates me. The body and brain's goal is to have steady blood glucose at all times. Some bodies regulate this better than others, because of mashup of genetics, lifestyle, and body fat.

I read a great explanation of why eating a little fat and protein with carbs is good--a little avocado or almond butter with that whole grain bread, for example, slows absorption of glucose in a favorable way, minimizing blood sugar spikes--but too much fat with carbs (like pepperoni pizza) slows absorption too much, leading to high blood glucose for too long a duration. Which explains the pizza coma. And the burger with fries coma. And yes, the Chinese buffet coma.

Fiber, like fat and protein, also mitigates blood sugar spikes (and subsequent crashes) by increasing digestion time. Which is why whole fruit, although sugary, is good for you; but juice, devoid of fiber, can cause trouble.

I'm also learning that some of the alternative medicine stuff I learned about regulating blood sugar--such as eating almonds and cinnamon--has been studied scientifically with favorable results.

There's the nutrition/A&P geekiness for the week. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off the bake an apple stuffed with cinnamon, walnuts, and a teeny wittle pat of butter for dessert.

PS It seems that all of this points toward a simple, ancient way of eating, with lots of whole foods. Or, as Michael Pollan wrote: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."


Narya said...

Yeah, I have to get my hands on the Pollan books. I really liked the article/excerpt in the NYT magazine a couple of years ago. And I think the crap way we eat is so bound up in American culture as to be one of its defining characteristics (but that's a whole blogpost right there).

Larry Jones said...

Of course, you could just eat heavily processed fast food every day, and take drugs to regulate glucose and stuff.

The more we learn about how the body works, the more it seems like we should just eat what we happen to find growing (or walking) around us. Not practical, I suppose.

kStyle said...

Narya: I eagerly await that blogpost.

Larry: Good point! Bring on the HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

If there were less pollution, and we had more time, it would be highly practical, I suppose...Up for a truffle hunt?