The Results Of My 7 Day Carb Test

First let me say if you have not read Wired To Eat, I suggest you go buy it now! It is a great book. While it is not targeted towards active people like the ones in this group, the concepts and theories Robb discusses are very insightful.

I will lead off with the results of my tests. Note while the amount of each carb source is different, each one was equivalent to 50g of effective carbs (total carbs – fiber).

Day 1:
260g of boiled sweet potato (not cooled)
Morning Glucose Reading: 88
1hr Mark: 70
2hr Mark: 74

Day 2:
250g of ripe bananas
Morning Glucose Reading: 80
1hr Mark: 74
2hr Mark: 95

Day 3:
335g of black beans
Morning Glucose Reading: 82
1hr Mark: 83
2hr Mark: 82

Day 4:
180g white rice
Morning Glucose Reading: 89
1hr Mark: 89
2hr Mark: 104

Day 5:
300g Grapes
Morning Glucose Reading: 94
1hr Mark: 94
2hr Mark: 90

Day 6:
390g Apple Sauce
Morning Glucose Reading: 93
1hr Mark: 82
2hr Mark: 80

Day 7:
690g butternut Squash
Morning Glucose Reading: 93
1hr Mark: 79
2hr Mark: 78

Bonus Day 8:
485g gluten free oats
Morning Glucose Reading: 84
1hr Mark: 101
2hr Mark: 111

Robb says in the book that if your glucose reading 2 hr after eating the food is above 115 than you should retest the next day with half the amount. If it is still above 115 than that carb is likely not good for you. If its less than you probably just need to be careful consuming that food. I didn’t find one carb that ever spiked my glucose that high. In fact some carbs appear to lower my reading which I am curious about and don’t have a good answer for. I included the Oats on day 8 because that is a food I never eat and since nothing else appeared to be spiking my glucose I wanted to try something out of the ordinary for me. It had the worst response, but still not bad.

I followed the testing protocol that Robb outlined in the book. I would wake up and immediately eat my test carb source with no other food besides water. This is not the way I normally operate by any means. First, I rarely eat carbs in the morning unless I am going to do a hard workout in the AM, and I never come close to eating 50g. Second I usually don’t eat breakfast until 9AM (i like to get in a 14-15hr fast). So this is certainly a departure from what I am used to. But it makes sense because you want to keep everything pretty much the same for each test. If you try to do it later in the day there are too many variables that get introduced that could effect the results from day to day.

A couple of observations I made throughout the process….

Eating 50g of carbs of one food is generally hard to do. Rice would be the easiest to overeat. Every morning I was surprised about how much I had to eat to hit 50g of carbs.

It is hard to consume 50g of carbs from whole foods. Because whole foods are nutrient dense and are low in carbs compared to other processed foods you need to eat a lot of them, it fills you up, and is in most cases, is pretty bland by itself. In my experience black beans were the worst. By themselves they are bland, and they have a ton of fiber in them so the effective carb count per serving is pretty low. Fruit is probably the easiest to eat because it is generally sweet. However even eating 50g of bananas was a little much IMO.

I didn’t notice the typical “crash” at any point, and that is probably due to the fact my glucose never spiked either. Some foods I noticed I was mildly hungry at the 2 hr mark but not “hangry.” My mood was generally good with all my test carbs and I felt like I had a lot of energy. I didn’t experience any digestion issues either. I did notice I was burping quite a bit after eating black beans but it wasn’t anything upsetting.

Overall I am glad I spent the 8 days doing this. It showed me that I can tolerate carbs pretty well, which I kind of suspected already. It also gave me a good gauge on what 50g of carbs looks like so it is easier to eat intuitively. I was surprised on how much you need to eat to get there. I think we (Primal folks) are so carb conscious that we loose sight about how much you really need to eat to get to that 50g mark, this was a nice reset for me. It also made me respect how whole foods by themselves are hard to overeat. Even in the Paleo/Primal world we would rarely eat a carb source by itself. We like to put fats on our carbs which make them taste better and therefore easier to eat. Take that fat away and the food is pretty bland.

I think I am going to continue to incorporate these carbs in my diet (except for the oats) to find the optimal amount for me based on my activity level and how I feel. I know Keto is all the rage but I am seeing the need for carbs in my diet the more and more I experiment.

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