The latest common wisdom on carbohydrates claims that eating so-called bad carbohydrates will make you fat, but University of Virginia professor Glenn Gaesser says, thats just nonsense. Eating sandwiches with white bread, or an occasional doughnut, isn't going to kill you, or necessarily even lead to obesity, he said.
In an article in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Gaesser analyzes peer-reviewed, scientific research on carbohydrate consumption, glycemic index and body weight and gives the first detailed review of the literature on the correlation between them. His findings run counter to the current consensus on the effects of good and bad carbohydrates.
Gaesser, author of Its the Calories, Not the Carbs and other books, found that diets high in carbohydrates are almost universally associated with slimmer bodies. More importantly, Gaesser found that consuming lots of high-glycemic foods is not associated with higher body weights. In fact, several large studies in the United States revealed that high-glycemic diets were linked to better weight control.
There is no reason to be eating fewer carbs theyre not the enemy, says Gaesser, a professor of exercise physiology and director of the kinesiology program in the Curry School of Education.
The description of carbohydrates as good or bad is based on glycemic index, a measure of the quality of the carbohydrate in terms of how much it raises blood sugar. Foods having a high GI are generally thought to be bad because they raise blood sugar more than good carbs do. Proponents of the glycemic index claim that this leads to excessive insulin secretion, which can cause weight gain and health problems. Foods such as whole-grain breads are said to offer good carbs, because they have a lower GI than white bread, for example. Likewise, a glass of pineapple juice has a high GI compared to apple juice.
Several popular low-carb diets use gly
|Contact: Anne E. Bromley|
University of Virginia