Diet Myths Busted
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Entries in carbs (3)


My doctor just told me that I am pre-diabetic and should watch my carb and sugar intake. I really like bananas and eat 2 or 3 a day. I really like them! I also like dried banana chips as a snack. My doctor says of all the fruits, bananas have a lot of sugar and I should curb my intake. Now what do I do? 

You go bananas! Just kidding – I couldn’t resist. I strongly recommend that you (and everyone) ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the advice of your doctor. Especially since you are pre-diabetic, you need to be extra careful. That means trying to find a way to curb your intake of bananas!

Bananas do get a bad rap for being high in sugar especially as they ripen. All fruit contains sugar in the naturally occurring form of fructose. Per serving, bananas have slightly more sugar, carbohydrate and calories than most fruit but they shouldn’t be on the do-not-eat list. One concern your doctor might have is you are consuming 4-6 servings of bananas a day since one banana is two servings.  Also banana chips are real fruit that has been dehydrated so one handful of banana chips contains a lot of bananas with all that fructose (sugar). The problem with any dried fruit is it is easy to eat more than you need because the pieces are so small. Bananas are a great source of potassium but like anything else, while the right amount is good for the body, too much isn’t so good.

Since you have to be careful with your sugar and carb intake, you will want to check with your doctor about changes in your diet. However, one thing that is likely to help is to have some kind of nuts with your banana. That will do two things – it will lessen the impact of the sugar on your insulin and it will hopefully make you a little more full so you won’t eat as many bananas! The strategy you want to follow is basically to eat something else that is not a carb and stay a little more full so you won’t feel like eating bananas! By mixing carbs with fats & protein you reduce the impact to your insulin. Keep this in mind with all fruits you eat – try to combine eating them with a little fat and a little protein to reduce the insulin response.


Is there such a thing as a low carb bread?

This question does beg a few other questions like – why do you want a lower carb bread? Fewer calories? Reduce your insulin response?

Low carb bread is kind of an oxymoron since bread by definition IS a carbohydrate. You are really looking for a LOWER carb bread! The real question becomes:  are there breads that have more complex carbohydrates and are less likely to spike our insulin?  The answer is yes.  Breads made with flax seed, soy flour, coconut flour and other dense, complex carbohydrates are slower to digest and keep us feeling full longer.  Fiber content helps to slow down the digestion process and reduces the impact on our insulin. You may want a high fiber and not really a low carb bread.

Many recipes for low carb breads and cakes use nut flours instead of grain flours since nut flours have more protein in them. They also have more fat which is usually in the form of an omega 3 fat.  While the bread is lower in overall carbohydrate due to using nut flours, it is not necessarily lower in calories. Make sure to read the labels carefully.  These breads can also be very filling so you don’t need to eat as large of a serving; my family eats a bread like this.  When I make French toast with it, one piece or even just half a piece is enough of a serving to fill us up vs two or more pieces of French Toast made with a more conventional bread.

It’s important to consider all the nutrients in your meal or sandwich, so make sure you balance out your low carb bread with the other important nutrients; protein & fat. 


I am signed up to run a marathon. Should I “carb-up” the night before with lots of pasta, bread and salad?

The worst thing you can do the night before the marathon is to load up with huge plates of pasta, salad and high-fat salad dressing.  You don't want all that extra weight in your digestive tract the next morning and you don't want any roughage. It will make you sluggish, bloated and uncomfortable.  If you have been eating a balanced diet the week before the marathon, you will have already loaded your muscles with fuel. Remember, what goes in must come out and you wouldn’t want that happening while you are running somewhere around mile 12!

The week before your marathon eat a diet consisting of a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates but don’t over or under eat.  If you really want to have a pasta fest, do it two nights before your marathon and again, don’t overeat and make sure to drink plenty of water. Eating a lot of pasta and salad with lots of roughage the day before you compete is not recommended. One day before the marathon, eat low-residue foods, eat only enough to satisfy your needs, eliminate alcohol and reduce caffeine intake. The morning of the race eat a bland, easy to digest, small breakfast and drink a glass of water one or two hours before the race so you are hydrated but have time to eliminate anything.  Good luck on your marathon – let me know how it goes!