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How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs?
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Post: #1 How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-12-2010 08:49 PM


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We've all heard the statement "Sure it's a carb but it's complex, it takes longer to digest so the insulin response is not so great".

Well, just how long DO complex carbs take to unwind to become simple carbs? I imagine it depends somewhat on whatever else is being eaten at the same time and how much. I'm looking for some basic info. so I have a comeback for my smartaleck pals who throw this at me.

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Post: #2 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-13-2010 12:01 PM


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Don't have the answer, but don't think the answer matters.

Fructose, when consumed in excess of 90g/day (and lower for some people and higher for fewer people) does nasty things to human bodies without causing a noticeable nudge in insulin production. As an admitted anti-fructose bigot, I must stress that overconsumption of fructose; and not consuming fructose in general; is the problem.

The complex starches generally all break down into maltose or dextrose and eventually into glucose at varying rates (maltose being more insulinergic than glucose, so not really a positive), but 200g of BAM! Gitterdone! glucose or 200g of insidiously plodding glucose is still 200g. The pancreas of a person with hyperinsulinemia will probably treat them the same.
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Post: #3 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-13-2010 02:08 PM


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BW, I don't have a 'scientific' answer but I do have a laymans explanation as I understand it and how I feel it relates to me. The more 'predigested' a carb is (the more surface area in general) the faster it will (in simple terms) dump glucose?/other into the blood stream. Some simple sugars like corn syrup in sodas may dump large amounts very rapidly and I feel maybe it is this 'sudden surge' that may cause some folks like myself problems possibly because it may cause a sudden surge reaction (insulin? other?).

Carbs like white flour (who would eat this garbage?::rolleyesSmile, rice, beans (even though the latter are called 'complex' also break down fairly rapidly, especially the more they are cooked (predigested), which can also cause a sort of 'fllooding' although perhaps a bit slower than 'simple sugar' because they have to take time/energy for a small amount of digestion time?

The complex carbs that I consume currently, (mainly raw veggies, some lightly steamed) and seem to cause much less reaction for me personally have much more fiber, take longer to digest, seem to release their energy/calories much more slowly and more sustained, don't seem? to cause the 'flooding response'?. Yes, too I think how one combines food makes (can) a big difference in how much is dumped into the system in what amount of time, there is as you may know a whole school of thought on food combining, some say no (few) simple carbs with protein, some say balance acid/alkaline, etc. etc., add the right fats, etc., put some olive/ flax oil on certain veggies, etc. etc.

For me, I don't necessarily think in strict terms of what is considered simple/complex as far as the usual categories but on how 'predigested' a carb is, what nutritional content does it contain, do I like to eat it etc. and what effect does it seem to have. For now I have tomatoes (yes some natural sugars and a fruit?), avacados (good fat?), cucumbers, lots of leafy greens, lots of peppers (love hot ones, lots of endorphins released?Big Grin), some oil (flax/olive, maybe coconut soon), I eat cheese, eggs, salmon, (orther fish as clean as possible), other meat, nuts, some berries, etc. I have gone from a bit 'overweight and bit untoned' 230 to a lean, muscular, much stronger, much better feeling 185 and I think how I am eating for now is just what I need to be doing.Smile Also had to let alcohol go Sad(for now and maybe for the longer term), don't miss it that much when i consider how much better (over the long term) I feel, beer IS a carb (but of a slightly different kind), this way of eating seems reasonable to me and I don't get the crashes, and other bad effects like I did before as long as i pay attention and use mindfullness in fueling my body and mind. Hope this simple (non-scientific) reply is helpful.
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Post: #4 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-13-2010 02:26 PM


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Great explanation left4ded.

You are right on the money.

Mackay Rippey

Has your weight loss stalled because your body clock is out of sync?
Check out the Kung Fu Weight Loss Guide to Resetting Your Body Clock
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Post: #5 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-13-2010 03:19 PM


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(10-12-2010 08:49 PM)buttonwillow Wrote:  We've all heard the statement "Sure it's a carb but it's complex, it takes longer to digest so the insulin response is not so great".

Well, just how long DO complex carbs take to unwind to become simple carbs? I imagine it depends somewhat on whatever else is being eaten at the same time and how much. I'm looking for some basic info. so I have a comeback for my smartaleck pals who throw this at me.

It is my understanding that one of the factors relating to how quickly a complex carb breaks down is how EASY it is to break down. Timewise, I would THINK by 1 hour, maybe 2 maximum, based on when diabetics test their blood sugar following a meal.

However, I could also say, anecdotally, that I recall feeling flushed/hot/yukky after a heavy carb load as quickly as 20 minutes.

For your friends: tell them that any insulin response is not a great thing -- slow or otherwise. There are so many interactions with carbs through the metabolic process that it is just not worth it to stress your body. Just my opinion. =D

-- ruthee in Jax
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Post: #6 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-13-2010 07:43 PM


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Here's another link from the Mercola site that talks about how the type of carb (Highly processed or not and how glycemic) appears to be more important in many ways than just the overall amount of carbs consumed. And they even make the case (don't know myself) that SOME peoples body type might do better with MORE carbs. Obviously though we all respond to different things differently perhaps one mans poison really is another mans (or womansTongue) cure. Anyway.....

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articl...carbs.aspx
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Post: #7 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-15-2010 10:31 PM


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Thanks for your answers. I'll check out the mercola site.

I'm not settled in my mind on this subject. It does matter if something you eat causes a sugar rush or has little or no effect on your blood sugar level. (Duh.) And since that's so, the answer to my question makes a difference. When my friend says her slice of whole wheat bread takes a long time to digest because the complex carbs in it take longer to break down, is she accurately describing the process? If so, she may be able to assert that there is no insulin surge. No surge, not so much of a problem of insulin overproduction right?

If my whole-grain-eating pal claims no problems, what do I have to say to her about the dangers of too much insulin in the blood stream? Why am I able to assume she has a problem simply because she consumes whole grains regularly? Is she actually getting an insulin surge everything she chows down on a sandwich? Or is she getting a not-so problematic release of insulin over a long period of time?

In this little instance I'm presenting a fictitious case of a person who eats moderately of whole grains, vegetables, meat, and fat, so it's an unreal situation. But, in casual conversation, nobody examines the other person's eating habits in grinding detail. I just hear the original statement made in my first post "But it's complex, it digests slowly".

I'm sure I've read something about all this, possibly in Good Calories, Bad Calories. Maybe I can just skim the volume this evening and see if it's there (yeah, skim, sure...).

Buttonwillow
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Leptin reset, May 2012
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Post: #8 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-16-2010 12:57 PM


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As a kid I remember the teacher handing out saltines. As we were eating them she asked how they taste. We mostly replied they taste sweet. Her point was saliva, specifically amylase, breaks complex carbs into simple carbs before they're even in the stomach. And once in the stomach they jump into the blood just as quickly.

kevin
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Post: #9 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-18-2010 06:33 PM


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"When my friend says her slice of whole wheat bread takes a long time to digest because the complex carbs in it take longer to break down, is she accurately describing the process?"-BW

Not sure there is an exact answer to that BW, I would say "a long time" is rather relative, maybe compared to table sugar or maple syrup etc., and possibly things like an individuals metabolism, ability to digest, etc. play a part, as well as just how much fiber and hard to digest materials are actually in the bread. I know for me personally bread breaks down very fast, does often cause (did in the past when I ate bread)) some kind of glycemic reaction (very very noticable). Also I think store bought "whole wheat bread" often seems to be a very broken down carb (with a little carmel color?) compared to what "great grandma" used to make that was made with hand ground whole flour and topped with some real butter to perhaps slow things down. That's just my take on it.
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Post: #10 RE: How long for complex carbs to digest vs. simple carbs? , 10-18-2010 06:46 PM


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Yes, left4ded, that is a relative term, but that's how people talk, thus, my original question, "how long?" The friend says, "complex carbs take longer" and you and I probably agree with that statement but if the "longer" part is only 10 minutes, well, that's like saying nothing at all. But since I don't have the info, I can't say anything with authority, and I'd like to.

Buttonwillow
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