High carb, low carb, or moderate carb?

The good folks at the Glycemic Index Newsletter have been engaged in some argument with low-carb proponents about whether low-carb diets are good for you. The GI people say “Slow carb not low carb”, but a fellow named James Krieger, a 20/20 Lifestyles Research Associate with PRO Club and editor or the Journal of Pure Power, disputes some of the GI Newsletter’s statements on low-carb. Read about it here.

Here’s my own weigh-in on it (originally written as a comment to the GI Newsletter story):

I am obviously not up on all the science re: low carb or re: GI, but on a personal level I’ll say that a combination of those approaches work best for me: low GI carbs, moderate intake (100-125 grams/day).

I’ve cautiously come to agree that sometimes, for some people, low-carb diets are helpful. Even more specifically: high carb diets, even when the carbs are low GI, are disastrous for Type 2 diabetics, at least based on anectodal evidence from the people I’m talking with.

I talk a lot with people who are diabetic who have benefitted extraordinarily from following the advice of Dr. Richard Bernstein (Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution), which differs in some notable ways from Atkins’ low carb approach. The problem I have with Bernstein is that he generalizes from his own experience as a Type 1 diabetic & what works for him to an insistence that everyone must be as tightly controlled in their carb intake. He flatly states that his readers should ignore GI, a stance with which I very much disagree.

I’m dealing with prediabetes (& hence diabetes prevention), but I also have a history with depression. Right now I’m eating about 100 to 125 grams of carb per day, which I regard not as “low carb” but as “moderate carb.” I find that if I go over that, my blood glucose goes a little too high, even though I’m eating low GI; if I go under that, I have problems with depression. My intake has some room for change depending on my level of physical activity.

From conversations with other members of the discussion list lowglycemiceating@yahoogroups.com, I’d say there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support moderate carb for people with Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance, even when eating low GI. Many members report having to watch portion sizes (i.e., glycemic load) as much as GI, & some absolutely avoid any kind of rice or pasta — even basmati rice or whole grain pasta.

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