Carb Challenge Part 2: Banana

As a part of my inspiration to show you guys the differences that food has on your body, I decided to take the carb challenge presented in Wired to Eat.  If you want to know more about the logistics and see all the details of what happened when I did Oats, click here. For the second round, I decided to do banana.  In order to hit the 50g net carbs for banana, I didn’t have to eat nearly the amount of shear volume.  For oats, I had to eat just over 2 cups due to the fiber content.  For banana, I only had to eat 1.14 cups of banana which ended up being around 2 1/2 bananas.

As I sat down to eat the banana, I took my blood sugar: 69.  I ate the banana easily, didn’t feel overly full, and really enjoyed the flavor.  This is a huge contrast from eating the oats.  With the oats, I could barely stomach the full dose and I felt terrible all morning in terms of fullness and wanting to vomit because I was so full.  Then when I finally felt hungry again it was instant and I wanted to eat a horse!  With the banana, I didn’t feel full, I enjoyed the taste, and I didn’t feel ravenous at all.

2 hours after eating the 50g net carbs of banana, I had a blood sugar reading of 84.  When I did the oats, it was 122.  When I decreased the oats to half the carbs (about the same quantity of banana ~1 heaping cup), I still had a 2-hour post sugar reading of 94!  That means that when I ate twice the amount of carbs from bananas compared to oats, I had a MUCH BETTER blood sugar response despite it being more carbs!  From a clinician perspective, that is really interesting!  How many times do we hear that people should eat oats for health due to it’s fiber content?!  All the time!  But in reality, it may be creating havoc on your blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes!  On the other hand, if you’re a person that responds differently than myself to these same foods, then maybe the oats are a better option than bananas.  We just don’t know unless you’ve directly compared your insulin response.

On a deeper level, this really stirs the pot in the conversation about macros.  Many people these days are eating according to macros (protein, fat, and carb ratios) but not worrying about the sources of those foods.  For example, HaloTop ice cream fits many people’s macros and allows them to eat ice cream while still fitting within their diet.  I think this experiment is pointing to the idea that just because they are both carb sources of the same amount, they can have very different outcomes physiologically.

Stay tuned for the next adventure!  I will likely do rice next.  I am choosing foods that are gluten free and may be things I would consider eating in the right context.  White rice fits that category for me and can be a great quick carb source for someone doing high intensity training.  It’s nice to know if that’s the best quick carb source to turn to!

2 thoughts on “Carb Challenge Part 2: Banana

  1. Gina

    It has been interesting to see the results of your carb challenges. I ordered Robb’s book a few weeks ago and can’t wait to start reading!

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