Carbs are an intimate part of your cultural identity. Going low carb might fix your body chemistry but it will spark an existential crisis – so going low carb is out
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A handful of nuts brings the sugar spikes down
You’re teetering on the edge of a diagnosis of diabetes – maybe you’ve just gone over the precipice.
The advice is GO LOW CARB. Eish !
Carbs are an intimate part of your cultural identity.
Going low carb will spark an existential crisis. You’ll be an outcast, unable to socialize with friends and family. Continuously scrambling to find something “acceptable” to eat. And………… it will cost a fortune.
These are the reactions of many Asian Indians to the suggestion to GO LOW CARB.
RICE IS US !
NOTE : This reaction is not something unique to Asian Indians, around the world, many cultures are glued together with high carb staples.
The culture of eating carbs
Rice dominates the plates of many Asians cultures. Where I live, on the tip of the African continent – the staple is PAP i.e. maize. It’s eaten as SLAP (wet) PAP in the morning and STYVE (hard) PAP in the evening.
In fact, we’ve got a processed version that can be prepared in a jiffy.
And the government adds all sorts of things to it, to make sure people are getting all the nutrients they need to be STRONG & HEALTHY. Of course, this may not always be a good thing. Click here to learn more.
Further up north on the African continent : rice, cow pea, cassava, plantains and sorghum are all STAPLES. And eating high carb staples is not just part of the cultural identity of third world populations – many first world cultures have a carb based cuisine.
For Italians it’s PASTA (wheat), while for Brits it’s fish & chips (potato).
The cultural identity clash
The cultural clash was something very much on the minds of a group of researchers based in New Delhi. So they set about looking for a way to help people in their neck of the woods, make the necessary body chemistry changes without forgoing their cultural identity.
Rice was still IN.
In fact, the peeps they signed up for their study, all of whom were considered to be pre-diabetic, made no significant change to their usual macronutrient ratios.
Rice was on the plate
They did get the usual dietary advice (not all of which I agree with, Lol). On the menu was
Highly processed foods, specifically containing hydrogenated fat and sugar sweetened beverages were strongly discouraged. And MOVING MORE was promoted : all participants were advised to include a 45 minute brisk walk into their daily routine.
Same macros different appetizer
In this study, what was switched up was the pre-meal practices.
Building on a body of work that has found almonds are able to reduce post dinner glucose spikes. Some of the evidence is shown below, this 2007 study showed that almonds lowered the glycemic index of a meal in a dose dependent fashion.
Our team required that participants eat a small bag of almonds, 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner. The small bag, was provided by the researchers (who got it from the sponsors of the study) and it came ready to go….
Each bag contained 20 g of raw unsalted nuts, which amounts to approx. 16-17 individual nuts.
Nut so different
The only variable the team monitored was nut consumption….
The peeps in the intervention arm of the study were required to eat the nuts, OR ELSE ! And the control peeps were explicitly told to NOT EAT ANY NUTS. Along the way, dietary data was collected using a 24 hour dietary recall.
The nuts made very little difference to the carb count.
But they did make a significant difference to the body chemistry. Sugar spikes were consistently lower. The study lasted for 90 days and this is the average glucose level for 30 randomly selected days.
The consistently lower post prandial glucose levels had body chemistry benefits……
All of the BIG 5 parameters associated with metabolic syndrome improved.
The team noted that 23.3 % of the participants eating NUTS were “cured” i.e. their numbers improved enough for them to be considered normoglycemic. To put this in perspective, one of the drugs that is often prescribed to “treat”pre-diabetes (acarbose) has pretty much the same “cure” rate of around 25 %.
A drug free solution
Which tastes GREAT….
Most of the people in the study found the almond intervention WORKED for them. Popping little packets of nuts in their handbag or brief case, to consume before meals was easy to do. The nuts tasted “good” and it felt healthy……
Why does it work ?
One of the reasons almonds “work” is they’re seriously hard to digest. In fact, research suggests a lot of the time, the digesting of nuts is incomplete so the official calorie count on the packet is an OVER ESTIMATION of what you’re getting. Click here to learn more.
The other thing about nuts is they are high in fat, especially mono-unsaturated fat.
Fat goes slow
And fat digestion is always a slower process……
The detection of fat in a meal, sparks the release of the hormone, called cholecystokinin or CCK, for short. CCK hits the brake on gastric emptying. Discouraging further consumption, so that digestive tract, can take stock of the situation and CLEAR the fat backlog.
The consequence of this……
You feel FULLER.
Everything slows to a crawl, including the uptake of glucose.
The nut digestion operation
By timing the packet of nuts to go 30 MINUTES before you eat……….. you end up trying to eat “dinner” in the full throws of the nut digestion operation.
Your stomach says NO THANKS – so you eat less.
The glucose that comes with dinner struggles to get out of the starting gate.
So even if your insulin release is “compromised” because you’re insulin resistant, .the “dinner” sugar is not a problem. Because there is no RUSH, delays in getting the glucose gates up goes virtually UNNOTICED.
As the glucose trickles in, it’s taken up so a sugar spike into the stratosphere is avoided.
And there is more
And as an added benefit, the free fatty acids, complement the insulin release, so you get a little extra insulin to boot. Click here to learn more.
Plus your microbiota LOVE them…………
Maybe too much ! Let’s just say too many almonds can lead to an EXPLOSIVE SITUATION.
And in my neck of the woods almonds are pretty pricey !
So I’m not advocating you “cure” your pre-diabetes by taking up THE ALMOND DIET.
Almonds in your diet
But a packet of almonds is one of those things you can add to your toolbox to keep your sugar spikes in check. Click here for additional suggestions.
NB. If you want personal help minimizing sugar spikes and other metabolic troubles, pick my brain during a Day of Voxer. I’ve spent years studying insulin resistance and I’ve lived it, I am pretty good at identifying the leverage points that will apply to YOUR BIOLOGY.
Premeal almond load decreases postprandial glycaemia, adiposity and reversed prediabetes to normoglycemia: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN 54 (2023) 12e22. Seema Gulati, Anoop Misra, Rajneesh Tiwari, Meenu Sharma, Ravindra M. Pandey, Ashish Datt Upadhyay, Hem Chandra Sati
Almonds and postprandial glycemia—a dose-response study. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 56 (2007) 400– 404. Andrea R. Josse, Cyril W.C. Kendall, Livia S.A. Augustin, Peter R. Ellis, David J.A. Jenkins.
Apples are poisonous – don’t panic. The poison protects the fruit from fungal attacks. It doesn’t hurt you directly, but it does slow sugar uptake
You’ve got an Italian gene or two………YOU LOVE PASTA. But, your body is NOT A BIG FAN – it’s metabolically challenged. Here is an easy to apply trick to eat Italian
A bowl of high-fat rice pudding, with fewer calories is more satiating than the same size bowl of a high-carbohydrate rice pudding, so fill up on fats…