Detour: A Geek’s Explanation (A Hypothesis, Anyway)

For those interested, I’ll provide a little bit of theory behind the slow carb program. As Ferriss says in his book, our understanding of the science behind why it works may change, but the fact that it does work does not.

For some, sticking to the strict tenets of no fast (white) carbs, fruit, and dairy is easy and doable. I love to eat. I love to cook. So I looked deeper to find myself more options. My interpretation of the program is that it’s based on managing the insulinemic response.

Research is finding that sugar is a far greater contributor to weight gain than any other thing we eat. Yes, even more than fat. Part of this stems from the fact that we process sugar much more easily than we do more complex molecules like fat and protein. Your body metabolizes sugar as a first-choice for energy. Excess sugar is converted into stored energy (i.e. glycogen and fat). It’s really a lot more complex and I’ve greatly simplified it here for a broader audience.

Before all you biochemists jump all over me, yes, I know glucose is harder to convert into fat and fat cells absorb glucose less efficiently than fatty acids; I’m simplifying here. We can argue the formulas and complex biochemical interactions all day. All I have to say is 100 lbs in 11 months. Argue that.

Back to the insulinemic response. In particular, if you have diabetes you must consult with your doc before trying this. So what I try to eat are low glycemic load foods. Notice I say glycemic load. Glycemic indeces don’t account for the practical quantity of food we eat. For example, green peas have a glycemic index of 48, higher than spaghetti at 38, but its glycemic load is only 3 compared to spaghetti’s 18. Most people typically eat green peas in lower quantities than spaghetti, where glycemic load is a better indicator than glycemic index.

I try to eat carbs that are around 6-7 on the glycemic index. Here’s a useful chart: Glycemic Load Chart.

Note that some fruits do indeed have a lower glycemic load than some lentils. The problem is, not all of them do. Again, our understanding of the science is changing all the time and glycemic load may not be the whole story. I just avoid all fruits during the week to simplify. Also, note that peanut M&Ms have a glycemic load of 6. But this does not account for all the other stuff they put in there, nor that most people do not eat the suggested serving size. Same goes for milk. While fairly low at a glycemic load at 5, milk and dairy products will limit your results on the slow carb program.

Next: Exercise (Or Lack Thereof)

Read the rest of my story at: