Starchy Carbs

by on March 31, 2014


There are a couple of things I really like about oatmeal. Number one the soluble fiber absorbs a lot of water, which slows down digestion. This is good for feeling full. Nothing is worse, than eating a meal then within 15 minutes feeling like you are starving again. The fiber also helps to control insulin spikes too. This “insulin management” is why oats are such an important carb for diabetics. You get a nice long sustained level of energy from the management of glucose. Pre-workout, you can’t beat it.

Oats also are packed with antioxidants. Selenium and other phenolic compounds are plentiful in oats. As you have seen on food labels, there are also many claims that oats help to reduce likelihood of getting cancer and of getting heart disease due to the fiber and antioxidant content. For those out there who have Celiac disease, or do not do well with wheat, oats are often well tolerated too.

One of my favorite types of oats is steel cut oats. These are oats that they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them. They are chewy and kind of dense, very filling. When you buy oats, make sure the ingredient list is short – real short – rolled oats. There is no need for added sugar and preservatives.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have that orange color due to a massive amount of beta carotene. As long as you eat some fat to help your body convert this to Retinol, you can consider these things Vitamin A kings. Along with beta carotene, you also get a decent dose of vitamin C. Those two are excellent antioxidants that will help to eliminate free radicals in your body. Another great thing about sweet potatoes is they have Vitamin B6 in them. B6 is important because it converts homocysteine to its benign form. High homocysteine levels have been associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. You can even find sweet potatoes that have a more purple color. That color comes from anthocyanins, and an even stronger antioxidant. This gives certain berries their dark color.

Sweet potatoes also have a fair amount of fiber in them, which helps to manage glucose, and provide more sustained energy. As I mentioned with oats, sweet potatoes are also great before a hard workout coupled with protein and fat.

Another reason why I like sweet potatoes is there natural sugar content. Although I am not a fan of most sugars, this natural sugar can be of help post-workout due to its effects on insulin. You will learn about this and more in my nutrition plans.

Lastly, they just taste good. A little bit of grass-fed butter and you have yourself a tasty nutritional powerhouse of a food.

Brown Rice

You might notice another trend here, in terms of the fiber content of some of my favorite starchy carbohydrates. A big reason why I like brown rice is the fiber content that is present. Again, you have more sustained energy from the management of glucose that occurs with fiber. Like oats, brown rice has been shown to protect against heart disease from its plant lignan content. Lignans are a type of phytonutrient that have also been shown to be protective against cancer.

What about white rice. Well, here is the truth; I actually love white rice with a dab of splenda. It is a nice tasty treat I use as a desert or cheat meal on occasion. The reality is that during the milling process, not only is the hull removed (for brown rice), the bran and the germ layer of the rice are removed as well when making white rice. Say bye-bye to much of the B Vitamins, manganese, iron and many other nutrients. Speaking of manganese, brown rice is loaded with it, and it is very helpful in assisting the body in producing energy from protein and carbohydrates, assists in healthy cholesterol production, and does many other things. It is an important trace mineral that you will get from rice.

John Meadows