Originally Posted by azanon
Simple carbs are still bad, but complex carbs are good despite what many low carb dieters may think.
I couldn't leave this one standing.
First, most of the fad low-carb dieters want to lose weight. The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume, so that really has nothing to do with "good" and "bad" carbs.
This is still somewhat controversial, but the old ideas about "simple" and "complex" carbs are somewhat obsoleted by the ideas of glycemic index and glycemic load.
There's pretty good evidence that high blood sugar levels and a constant bath of insulin to regulate those levels is bad for you. Being fat is bad for you, too.
Your blood sugar levels and the insulin response are more a function of the mechanical aspects of digestion and absorption in the gut. Simple carbs bound up in a fibrous fruit matrix, like an apple, don't impact your blood sugar levels very much. Complex carbs that are easily absorbed, like in baked potatoes and white bread, will cause your blood sugar levels to spike just like a candy bar.
Glycemic index measures how different foods (and even different food preparations) impact your blood sugar levels, and glycemic load tells you the magnitude of the impact (e.g., watermellon is high GI, but since it's mostly water, it's low GL).