Phoenix, AZ

Slow-carb vs. fast-carb claims lack scientific backing, says ASU professor

Victoria Nogales

PHOENIX, AZ - The relationship between humans and food is intimate. It's also complex. There may be foods that seem to be good but aren't. There may not be that much harm in what appears to be a negative quality of food. It is important to consider it in its entirety.

There is a common belief that the types of carbohydrates in food can affect how much fat you store after eating it. Taking the pounds off may be easier if you regulate the types of carbs you consume. This is the debate between fast carbs and slow carbs. A fast carbohydrate food - for example, white bread, white rice, and potatoes - raises insulin levels in the body and causes a surge in blood sugar. Slow-carb foods, such as bran flakes, some pasta, and apples, only increase blood sugar moderately and may help with weight loss.

As a professor of health solutions, Glenn Gaesser says the glycemic index of a food is useful for determining whether a food helps some conditions while not affecting others. Dr. Gaesser says science shows no evidence that fast carbs fatten us up and that slow carbs help us lose weight.

No matter what diet you choose, creating a deficit in calories is key to weight loss. You can achieve this with virtually any diet. Maintaining a reduced calorie intake is the problem. Maintaining weight loss over the long term is very challenging.

There is strong evidence that exercise is a good predictor of weight-loss maintenance and that it allows dieters more flexibility and options when choosing foods. In addition to maintaining weight loss, exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Lastly, it is important to note that the quality of a diet has more impact on health than its calorie count. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are always good for your health, even if you don't lose weight.

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