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Going Against The Grain.

The government has changed the food pyramid again and if you have a child or any interest in your own health, you should read this article and pass it around.

If you get anything out of this article, get this:

Stop Eating So Many Starches!

Why Listen To Me?

Now, you can take advice from anybody. Certainly in the world of nutrition, there are millions of opinions; most are paid advertisements from individuals who have used some other technique to get to where they are now.

It shouldn't be a surprise that most spokes-people are getting the cash to stand behind a product. The proof is in the pudding. Now think about it, but if you get advice from someone on how to eat, ask him or her to see their stomach.

I'll be happy to show you my six pack. Nothing drives me nuts more than some overweight out of shape, "expert" giving advice on how to get fit.

The Crumbling Food Pyramid

If you look at it, we have a federal suggestion of what to eat. It is the food pyramid and it suggests 8 servings of grain per day. With all the lobbying going on in Washington, this was passed without too much question in the 1960's as a direct result of the general scare of heart disease.

Keep in mind that, our country produces more grain than any other country in the world. More recently the food pyramid has undergone some changes and also included sugars in the American's already, over caloric diet.

These changes have also spawned new attacks on the very nature of the formation of the food pyramid and are still undergoing changes as we see them. Now the Food pyramid, which was originally designed to help Americans make healthy easy food choices, recommends only 6oz of grains per day.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Food Pyramids.


    Starches are pasta, potatoes, bread, rice (see table).

Starch Table
Pasta (pizza, any noodle, spaghetti, fetticini, ravioli. Worst is pasta made with white/bleached flour)
Potatoes (French fries, potato chips, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, anything with the word potato in it.)
Bread (Breakfast cereal, Bagels, bread as in sandwich bread, loafed bread. The Worst is white/bleached flour) It has longer chains than the rest.
Rice (If it has the word rice in it, ta da - it has rice.)

Who Told You To Eat A High Starch Diet In The First Place?

    OK, let's first look at who told you they are good for you. Marathon or 10k runners, it's their fault. For those athletes, the high starch intake is more tolerable, their body can burn the starch as a fuel. I think this was due to the earlier studies at Ohio State and University of Iowa (two of the best exercise physiology programs).

Why Are Starches So Bad For You?

If you look at the nutrients in foods you will see protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Starches, most often referred to as complex carbohydrates, just don't make the list.

Starches prevent you from eating enough of the foods that help you develop and grow. Even if you are 90 years young, the body is still growing and replacing old worn out cells.

To evidence why starches are bad for you relates to a simple explanation. Your stomach only has so much room, starches take up a great deal of space in the stomach, so eat a lot of bread and you can't eat your meat, vegetables or fruits.

There is only so much room in the digestive system and one more major problem with starches is that they stop the body's absorption of vitamins and minerals. Now how this occurs is related to the physical nature of starches, they make paste.

Take meat, fish, vegetables, fruits dry them out, mix them with water and now dry them out, mix them with water again and you will quickly break them down. Take white four, mix it with water and then dry it out. You have made "Plaster of Paris."

Now try to break it down with water and guess how much water it takes to break it down, over 100 times the amount that it took to make it. This paste is on the insides of many peoples intestine, blocking the normal absorption of nutrients, such as protein.

Now it isn't likely that chunks of these starches are going to drop out as feces, but you will see a major difference in things if you discontinue your intake of breads, pasta, rice and potatoes. Starches clog up the smaller intestine, making you eat more to satisfy your appetite and forcing your body to absorb more fat and water from the large intestine.

Starches & The Glycemic Index

Basic information about the Glycemic index or GI. The whole idea of GI was to show how certain foods would cause a change in the amount of insulin distributed into the blood stream. There is very little insulin associated with some foods that have a lower GI and lots of insulin is poured out when there is a food eaten with a high GI. Some examples are below:

Taken From The Diabetes Mall:

    Glycemic Index: How Quickly Do Foods Raise Your Blood Sugar?

      The glycemic index measures how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar* and can be helpful for managing blood sugars. For example, if your blood sugar is low and continuing to drop during exercise, you would prefer to eat a carb that will raise your blood sugar quickly.

      On the other hand, if you would like to keep your blood sugar from dropping during a few hours of mild activity, you may prefer to eat a carb that has a lower glycemic index and longer action time. If your blood sugar tends to spike after breakfast, you may want to select a cereal that has a lower glycemic index.

      The numbers below give that food's glycemic index based on glucose, which is one of the fastest carbohydrates available. Glucose is given an arbitrary value of 100 and other carbs are given a number relative to glucose. Faster carbs (higher numbers) are great for raising low blood sugars and for covering brief periods of intense exercise. Slower carbs (lower numbers) are helpful for preventing overnight drops in the blood sugar and for long periods of exercise.

      Note that these numbers are compiled from a wide range of research labs, and often from more than one study. These numbers will be close but may not be identical to other glycemic index lists. The impact a food will have on the blood sugar depends on many other factors such as ripeness, cooking time, fiber and fat content, time of day, blood insulin levels, and recent activity. Use the Glycemic Index as just one of the many tools you have available to improve your control. This information is available at the diabetes mall.

    Glycemic Index:

Cereals Snacks Pasta Beans
All Bran 51 chocolate bar 49 cheese tortellini 50 baked 44
Bran Buds + psyll 45 corn chips 72 fettucini 32 black beans, boiled 30
Bran Flakes 74 croissant 67 linguini 50 butter, boiled 33
Cheerios 74 doughnut 76 macaroni 46 cannellini beans 31
Corn Chex 83 graham crakers 74 spagh, 5 min boiled 33 garbanzo, boiled 34
Cornflakes 83 jelly beans 80 spagh, 15 min boiled 44 kidney, boiled 29
Cream of Wheat 66 Life Savers 70 spagh, prot enrich 28 kidney, canned 52
Frosted Flakes 55 oatmeal cookie 57 vermicelli 35 lentils, green, brown 30
Grapenuts 67 pizza, cheese & tom 60 Soups/Vegetables lima, boiled 32
Life 66 Pizza Hut, supreme 33 beets, canned 64 navy beans 38
muesli, natural 54 popcorn, light micro 55 black bean soup 64 pinto, boiled 39
Nutri-grain 66 potato chips 56 carrots, fresh, boil 49 red lentils, boiled 27
oatmeal, old fash 48 pound cake 54 corn, sweet 56 soy, boiled 16
Puffed Wheat 67 Power bars 58 french fries 75 Breads
Raisin Bran 73 pretzels 83 grean pea, soup 66 bagel, plain 72
Rice Chex 89 saltine crakers 74 green pea, frozen 47 baquette, Frnch 95
Shredded Wheat 67 shortbread cookies 64 lima beans, frozen 32 croissant 67
Special K 54 Snickers bar 41 parsnips 97 dark rey 76
Total 76 strawberry jam 51 peas, fresh, boil 48 hamburger bun 61
Fruit vanilla wafers 77 pot, new, boiled 59 muffins  
apple 38 Wheat Thins 67 pot, red, baked 93 apple, cin 44
apricots 57 Crackers pot, sweet 52 blueberry 59
banana 56 graham 74 pot, white, boiled 63 oat & raisin 54
cantalope 65 rice cakes 80 pot, white, mashed 70 pita 57
cherries 22 rye 68 split pea soup w/ham 66 pizza, cheese 60
dates 103 soda 72 tomato soup 38 pumpernickel 49
grapefruit 25 Wheat Thins 67 yam 54 sourdough 54
grapes 46 Cereal Grains Milk Products rye 64
kiwi 52 barley 25 chocolate milk 35 white 70
mango 55 basmati white rice 58 custard 43 wheat 68
orange 43 bulgar 48 ice cream, van 60 Drinks
papaya 58 couscous 65 ice milk, van 50 apple juice 40
peach 42 cornmeal 68 skim milk 32 colas 65
pear 58 millet 71 soy milk 31 Gatorade 78
pineapple 66 Sugars tofu frozen dessert 115 grapefruit juice 48
plums 39 fructose 22 whole milk 30 orange juice 46
prunes 15 honey 62 yogurt, fruit 36 pineapple juice 46
raisins 64 maltose 105 yogurt, plain 14    
watermelon 72 table sugar 64        

*Actually, the GI indirectly measures a food's effect on blood sugar. It actually measured the "area under the blood sugar curve" following a set intake of that carb.

Why All The Fuss About Insulin?

Okay, first of all if you want to get really big, I mean really huge, it isn't just those common drugs that do it for you, it is insulin. Insulin acts like a suction device and draws lots of things from the blood stream into the cell.

Insulin & Supplements: What You Need To Know! Insulin & Supplements: What You Need To Know!
I've talked a bit about insulin in the past. I'm going to review my previous article previously published on before delving into some new info.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

It is like seeing someone on a shopping spree. You are just grabbing everything in sight and not caring about what it is. Insulin is also linked to Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which makes you gain weight too. More insulin causes more HGH. Good idea right? Only if you are trying to gain weight.

Insulin also can force the transference of protein and simple carbs to FAT. Insulin also raises our fat thermostat and will make our body hold onto more stored fat. Ouch, that is not what we want. We want lots of things that make us big, but getting fat isn't in the picture.

Insulin has a major task; it removes sugar from the blood stream. Why do we want to remove sugar from the blood stream? Because sugar in your blood stream weakens the blood vessel walls and can cause several dangerous or fatal problems. Get too much insulin and you will take all the sugar out of the blood stream and go into "Insulin shock."

Diabetes is a condition where you have trouble controlling your insulin levels. There are two types and I would suggest you go to this link to learn more about them.

The main problem with starches and insulin is found within the molecular structure. Glucose is blood sugar, it is what you brain uses exclusively to function. That is why we all get stupid on the low carb diets. Starches are long - I mean long chains of glucose. (See photo)

Click Image To Enlarge.
Amylopectin Model Structure.
Diagram of Amylopectin a starch. Each red and blue dot is a glucose molecule
and each one triggers insulin production.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Structure Of Glucose, Galactose & Fructose.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Several Sugars Are Bonded Together To Form Polysaccharides.

It can take hours to break down an ingested starch and that is great if you are a marathon runner. It can be devastating if you are not. What the Glycemic Index Table doesn't show is the length of time that insulin is produced.

With starches the production of insulin can go on for hours and literally drain the pancreas of insulin stores. This is devastating to your body. The same thing happens if you over eat. The table below shows how eating a piece of candy will spike your insulin.

Notice how the slice of white bread is similar to the spike, but the duration last for several hours. The same type of reaction occurs when we over eat; our body produces insulin for several hours. This long term production leads to insulin-related health conditions-like obesity.

See graph on Glycemic Index response vs. insulin production:

Click Image To Enlarge.
Glycemic Index Response Vs. Insulin Production.


No it isn't easy. The world is set up with starches everywhere. You go to a restaurant and poof; you have bread on your table. Most meals include a set of french fries or baked potato. Most restaurants will offer other sides if you ask.

Click On Your Favorite Restaurant To Learn The Truth!
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© © © © ©

Wendy's will allow you to exchange a salad for fries. Wait until you go to Wendy's and ask for the grilled chicken in a boat (No bun). It takes the counter about five minutes to figure that one out.

No matter what level of athlete you are, stopping the gross consumption of starches will greatly enhance your development and athletic abilities. Try it for two weeks, but realize it takes a while to clean out the junk you already have built up in your intestine.

What Can You Do?

  1. Eat your protein first - The stomach needs a low pH or acidic enviorment to breakdown proteins and absorb them. Starches buffer or raise pH.

  2. Eat fewer starches; choose meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, dairy, nuts, etc.

  3. Continue to educate yourself about starches.

  4. Exercise and diet work together for the best changes in body shape.

  5. If you are going to eat starches, eat them within one hour of exercise.

  6. Choose oatmeal as your starch and keep it to a minimum.

  7. Eat your starches following a workout to help stimulate insulin and HGH.