Can rice spike your blood sugar more than a cookie?
Today we are gonna talk about the seven-day carb test.
Now, I have to give credit where credit is due here. Robb Wolf, a very famous nutrition expert in the field of paleo and ancestral nutrition, recently wrote a book called Wired to Eat. It’s a fantastic book. If you don’t already have it, go out and get it. I’ve read it twice already. Robb Wolf is one of my personal heroes in the health and wellness space.
One of the really cool things he talks about in there is something called the seven-day carb test, and I think this can be a really fantastic way for people, as individuals, to determine their individual level of carb tolerance depending on the carb that they’re consuming.
So, what’s the seven-day carb test? Well, essentially there have been studies that have shown that people react very differently to certain types of carbohydrates depending on the individual.
While that’s true that almost everyone is going to have a way higher blood sugar spike when eating a cookie than when eating celery, for example, it’s not always the case that when you get to same higher-carb things like, say, a cookie and a potato, that everyone’s gonna have the same blood sugar spike.
In fact, one of the most interesting findings of these studies is that people can actually have a lower blood sugar spike with a cookie than with a white potato or white rice, for example. Someone could have way higher blood sugar spike with beans than with white rice, for example. But then someone else could have the exact opposite reaction to those very same foods.
The point of this all wasn’t to say that eating a cookie is healthy if it gives you less of a blood sugar spike. There are lots of other reasons not to eat a cookie from a health perspective. But it’s to say that one’s tolerance for carbs is very, very, very individual. What you can glean from this is you can find out that certain carbs might be better for you and lead to a healthy blood sugar response long term as opposed to other carbs.
So, for example, if you just know, “Man, I feel really lightheaded or weird after having white potatoes but I feel fine with sweet potatoes”, that could be you intuitively knowing something that could be demonstrated with a blood glucose monitor, showing you that your blood sugar spikes really high after eating white potatoes but not so much after eating sweet potatoes.
So, what is the seven-day carb test, with all of that background information in mind? The seven-day carb test is basically where you buy a blood glucometer — and I’ve done other videos, which I’ll link to that explain how you might use a blood glucometer — but basically what you do is, over the course of seven days, each morning, you have a different type of carbohydrate source. Whether that’s … And these are the ones that you really like and would eat a lot. So maybe 50 net effective carbohydrates of pineapple, or white potatoes, or sweet potatoes.
And, again, it really is worth buying Robb Wolf’s book because he’s got this all worked out for you. You can find it online as well, these values. But it’s basically 50 net carbs from these different sources. It could be white rice, it could be beans, what have you. What you do is you take your blood sugar before you eat those foods and then, ideally, one and two hours after.
If, one hour after, it’s higher than 140, then chances are it’s something that you’re not having a good blood glucose reaction to. It could be 180 or something crazy like that. That would be really high.
And if two hours after it isn’t below 120, and ideally, closer to fasting, then that could be something that you have blood sugar issues with.
So, this is a very nice thing where, if you’re okay with getting a blood glucose monitor from your local Walmart, you can get all the equipment for no more than $50 or $60. You don’t need to spend a ton of money.
You can actually find out, “Is a sweet potato giving you more issues than a white potato, or vice versa”, or, “Is white rice okay for you to have occasionally”, or, “Is that the thing that’s throwing you off and making you feel spacey, or lightheaded, or giving you hypoglycemia reactions?”
In that sense, it’s very, very, very helpful. Then going forward, one of the things you can do is you can know, “Well, hey …” Let’s say, for example, beans give you way more of a blood sugar spike than white rice. Then beans are something you’re going to save for maybe a special occasion, and white rice is something that you know you could have on a more regular basis. Maybe post-workout.
But that’s not something you’d really expect initially. Initially, you would think, “Well, of course the white rice is gonna spike my blood sugar more than the beans.” That’s what we would intuitively think for most people.
And for a lot of people, that is the case. But not for everyone. That’s what’s so interesting about this, is you can really dial things in and find out what’s right for you.
So, to recap, if you don’t already have Robb Wolf’s book, Wired to Eat, go ahead and get it. It’s awesome, it’s fantastic. Once you have it, you can do the seven-day carb test where you can find out your individual level of carb tolerance.
This will tell you what you can safely have and what should maybe be avoided more long-term. That will give you a really good way to optimize your health for you, individually, rather than making this blanket statement that white rice is always bad for everyone, or beans, or white potatoes. It really depends on the individual.
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