Slow Digesting Carbs

Slow Digesting Carbs

Slow-digesting carbs, fast digesting carbs, complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates – oh my! There is a perception out there that carbs are too confusing to understand. I do not think carbs are confusing, but I understand where this perception is coming from.

Take slow-digesting carbs, for example. What are they? When should we eat slow-digesting carbs? Do slow-digesting carbs aid weight loss? These are just some of the questions people ask, so let’s try to figure this out.

There are two ways to go about identifying slow-digesting carbs: an exhaustive list that and no list. I like the latter approach because making the list is too anal-retentive, boring and unnecessary.

So, how would one define slow-digesting carbs? Simply put, slow-digesting carbs can be defined as the type of carbs that do not cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels.

The “no-list” list of slow-digesting carbs Generally speaking, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and cultured dairy products contain slow-digesting carbohydrates. Some exceptions are: watermelons, oranges, tangerines, bananas, pineapples, kiwis, beets, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions – but I really hate putting these fruits and vegetables on the “exceptions” list.

Why? Because they contain numerous micronutrients that are good for you. True, they also contain more sugar than other fruits and vegetables, but it does not mean they should be avoided.

When should I eat slow-digesting carbs? If you are not trying to lose weight, it does not really matter when you eat, say, a beet salad. If, however, you need to lose weight or you are regularly lifting weights, it is better to eat slow-digesting carbs in evening or prior to your workout.

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15 Responses to “Slow Digesting Carbs”

  1. Elaine Says:

    I’m 71 yrs old and do not need to lose weight. I’m 5’1″ and weight 107-108. I’m pre-diabetic and am afraid of carbs. I love fruit. what is a good breakfast before I use the treadmill or elliptical. I am a moderate workout person. Where does the protein I need in oatmeal? I do use sliced almonds and blueberries on top of my oatmeal and sprinkle flax seeds on top. I do not use milk as I am lactose intolerant.. I eat egg whites or two egg whites and one egg yolk at times with melted yogurt cheese on top. Which breakfast would be better before working out?

  2. Mari Ann Lisenbe Says:

    Hi Elaine, It sounds like you are on the right track, but you don’t have to be afraid of slow carbs. Stick more with legumes, whole grains, and fruits where you eat the WHOLE fruit – including the skin. As far as what breakfast is “better” for you, my suggestion is to let your body tell you what you need! Learn to listen to what your body is telling you. I would suggest that you do a daily journal for 30 days. Write down what you eat, then an hour after the meal, make a note of how you are feeling. Are you energized? Or are you experiencing brain fog, bloating, body aches, etc? This will help you identify the foods that are working best for YOU.

  3. Tomiko Eason Says:

    is there a meal, menu plan to assist in losing weight quickly by combining fast and slow carbs. I really want to lose some weight about 15 pounds. I’m 41, 5’8″ 180 pounds size 14 reg. Please help me thanks, Tomiko E.

  4. Phillip Says:

    Tomiko, it’s all about energy intake and expenditure. If you want to lose 1 lb. per week you would need to have an energy difference of 500 calories X 7 days = 3500 kcals. Meaning, if your daily calorie intake needs was 2000 kcals, then your energy expenditure would need to be 2500 kcals. Your body’s metabolism should be included in your energy expenditure (see BMR and TDEE) BMR is the Basal Metabolic Rate, which is the calories you burn if you stayed in bed all day doing nothing. The TDEE is a rough estimate of the energy (in calories) that your body requires for you to function on a typical day). There is a formula you have to input depending on your rate of exercise. But back to the slow and fast carbs. Generally you want to eat slow carbs before a workout and fast carbs after. The body will be craving the glycogen stores that were being depleted during the workout. The sooner you eat the better, since fast carbs enter the bloodstream quicker, that means it will be absorbed more quickly in the muscle and liver cells.

  5. Ink Says:

    Out of curiosity, how does one (by simply looking at, say, the nutrition facts on the back of a product) tell whether it is a fast carb or a slow carb without having to look it up online? Is there a way? Because if this were possible, it would help immensely in picking out the carbs I’m looking for. I don’t mind looking up things like the occasional fruits and vegetables, but looking up every day things like grape juice or a snack that I want to eat becomes tedious. I’m hoping to find a way just by looking at the product (more or less) to judge whether it’s a fast carb or slow carb. Can you please let me know if this is possible, and how to do it if it is? Thank you very much for your time and patience!

  6. Paula N Says:

    I am 78 years old and reasonably healthy in most every way except for quite a few years, suffering from back pain which ended in surgery last January. Three discs were fused and my pain has lessened but my back is somewhat stiff and my legs are weak. I have gained so much weight for whatever reasons and I am a snacker. I really do want to lose quite a bit to take the strain off my back and legs. I can probably do some meager exercises and am thinking about getting a floor peddler which can also be used with arms. I have never weighed this much in my life and it is dragging me down. I don’t want miracles at my age but I do want to be healthier. I am a busy person, and I don’t sit around all day so any sugestions would be considered. Thank you.

  7. James A Says:

    Ink, slow digesting carbs are generally natural products such as yams, wild rice, beans, red potatoes and fruits etc. Although there are a lot of exceptions on the fruit list. The fast ones are the more processed foods or man made carbs such as bagels, dinner rolls, white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, fat-free muffins, cold cereals, rice cakes and fruit juices.

  8. Sonic98 Says:

    When we’re talking about this 1:1:1 ratio is this how many things you eat or are we talking about a food weight or calorie ratio? As far as people who want a list or an easy way to know. Isn’t this like anyone else in nutrition or dieting? It’s just like counting calories. After enough time and experience don’t you just know or can kinda figure it out as you work on your plan a while?

  9. Daniel Says:

    Slow carbs – like veggies and fruits – are the key food to load carbs into our body. I’d say for the no-list: yes these are containing a higher level carbohydrate (mainly fructose). If you are planning to lose weight put these veggies/fruits to the first half of the day, if you want to gain some muscle put them 1 hour after your workout prior to give your body a higher level of (safe, low) carbs – which is needed after your workout. What to eat for dinner base on veggies?

  10. Leah Says:

    I’m a 16 year old girl who is tired of her arm fat (and the fat on the rest of her body as well). I’m 5’7″ and a half and 178 pounds. I recently read that to reduce arm fat it is best to eat slow digesting carbohydrates. My weight teeter totters. I’ve exercised in the past and lost up to 40 pounds but my weight always seems to end up around 180. I want to be 116 again but I’m at a loss at what to do. What foods should I eat that would expel my arm fat (I’m a vegetarian). And what exercises should I do to lose the arm fat (exercises that will not make me look like a body building man)?

  11. pam Says:

    i have a thyroid issue and i just cant get control of my weight. I feel like my appetite has increased and I try to eat healthy most of the time. What am i doing wrong or what should someone avoid with hypothyroid?

  12. Manny Says:

    I’m a 16 year old male who is trying to loose most of that stomach fat. I’m 5’7″ and weigh approx. 160 lbs. I have about 20% body fat and it all seems to go to my stomach only! I think i might be an endomorph (sensitive to carbs). Any suggestions on how many slow-digesting carbs i should take?

  13. LaVerne Says:

    Is it good to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning?

  14. WILLIAM L Says:

    Being a diabetic for 35 years, and on an insulin pump for the last 6 years. I’m wanting to know, or a list of the fast acting vs slow acting carbs. Like pasta, when I eat pasta, and take the amount of insulin per carb ratio, then in about one hour, I have a low blood sugar, then 3 hours later I’ve shot up over 300. I use the glucose tabs, so I am not shooting my blood sugar up to high. I just can’t figure out how to set my pump to the correct bolus, if I set the dual wave bolus, how many hours should I spread it over? Pizza, Lasagna, Spaghetti etc. Blood sugars seem to be ok an hour or 2 after eating, then sky rockets 3-4 hours, or even 6 hours later. it’s very frustrating, and has the habit of getting me down. Any help is appreciated, thank you, William L.

  15. Kinsey Says:

    I’m a 23 year old female. I work overnights at Walmart and I’m on my feet for a good 8 hours a day (walking fast breaking a sweat and everything). I consider work as my weekly exercise because after work and on my days off I just really don’t feel like doing much extra other than house work (washing clothes, sweeping, mowing the lawn, etc.) I only eat once or twice a day because of my kind of unusual schedule. I was told that I have a problem with a lack of serotonin and I’ve been doing a lot of research and one of the things it said is I should eat more slow digesting carb. foods. I do take a natural Appetite Control and Energy pill to help me loose weight. Should I eat more slow carb. foods at work or before? And does anyone have any other tips for the weight loss and/or producing more serotonin, or does it sound like I’m pretty much on the right track?

    Thanks a lot,

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