Lifestyle: carbohydrates, part 2: simple, complex, and the glycemic index

More nutritional self-tutoring: the tutor continues about comparisons between carbohydrates.

In my last two articles, here and here, I discuss simple vs complex carbohydrates, then the glycemic index, respectively.

The original talking-point of this series of articles is that we typically seem to hear that complex carbohydrates should be chosen over simple ones. The obvious question:

  • Are complex carbohydrates always more beneficial than simple ones, and why?

The simple answer is no, not necessarily.

First, recall from my article here that simple carbohydrates can be thought of as sugars, whereas complex carbohydrates can be thought of as starch.

From a dietary point of view, the general rule about carbohydrates is that the lower the glycemic index (GI) (see yesterday’s article), the better. Some starches have a high glycemic index – white bread can have GI very close to that of glucose itself. Yet, since white bread is mainly starch, rather than sugar, it’s still complex carbohydrate.

Vegetables with high soluble fibre content tend to have a low GI (kidney beans, for instance).

Fructose, a sugar, has a surprisingly low GI of 19.

Therefore, a complex carbohydrate can have a high GI, while a simple one can have a low GI. From a dietary point of view, the general rule for carbohydrates seems to be that low GI is better than high, rather than that complex is better than simple.

Which foods are low vs high can be confusing at first, but there are a couple of sources below that have very useful tables to help.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: carbohydrates, part 1: what is the glycemic index?

Tutoring school subjects, the glycemic index might rarely be mentioned. In other contexts it’s important. The tutor briefly explains the glycemic index.

In yesterday’s post I began about carbohydrates from a dietary point of view, discussing the difference between simple and complex ones.

To go further with the discussion, a definition is needed: the glycemic index.

When carbohydrates are digested, they are separated into individual molecules called simple sugars. Glucose is a simple sugar, for example. The simple sugars are then absorbed into the blood, which elevates blood sugar.

A food’s glycemic index measures the rise in blood sugar caused by eating that food, relative to eating glucose itself. On the scale, glucose is given a glycemic index (GI) of 100.

≤55 low
56 to 69 medium
≥70 high

Next post I’ll discuss the connection between carbohydrates and the glycemic index.


Lifestyle: Bacon as a food: Is it too fatty?

Lifestyle is all about self-tutoring. The tutor looks into a long-time curiosity: the viability of bacon as a food.

Most of us probably love bacon. Is it too fatty to be taken seriously as food? To quote HAMlet: To eat, or not to eat, bacon: that is the question.

I decided to compare bacon with peanut butter and cheese. My specific interest is the fat content versus protein content. My findings:


I’m surprised how well cooked bacon compares to the other two.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Health and fitness: weight loss: bmi (body mass index)

Tutoring math, numbers are always interesting. The tutor shares some findings about “healthy” weight loss.

About two months ago I concluded that, for the purpose of a sport I’m in, I should lose 15 to 20 pounds. From 177 pounds, that would put me between 157 and 162.

The idea of losing 20lbs I found daunting; I felt good at 177lbs. I knew I’d have to go hungry; at the current exercise level I wasn’t losing weight. I found myself asking, “Is it safe to go from 177 to 157lbs?”

I searched the net and quickly found the nih. It indicates that a healthy bmi is between 18.5 and 24.9, and offers to calculate yours. All it asks is the user’s height and weight.

I entered my digits and found my bmi, at 177lbs, to be a surprising 24. Then I entered my same height with weight 150lbs. The utility stated that my bmi would be 20.3, still well above 18.5.

With that confirmation that it would be safe to do so, I went ahead with my weight loss plan; I’m at 165 right now.

I’ll be talking more about bmi and weight loss:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: while on acetaminophen, is it safe to drink alcohol?

The tutor shares some research about mixing acetaminophen with alcohol.

The mayo clinic seems to suggest that one, or maybe even two, doses of acetaminophen, taken as directed, might be okay with a moderate amount of alcohol. However, if a person is taking more acetaminophen than that, alcohol should be avoided.

WebMD gives the message that, to avoid kidney damage, mixing acetaminophen and alcohol should be avoided. indicates that, if acetaminophen is taken according to the instructions, moderate drinking is okay (up to a total of three drinks per day).


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Health, Lifestyle: Dry indoor air: A cause of my bad cold?

Tutoring, you hear about the colds and flus going around. Might dry air worsen the situation?

2016-17 has been the coldest winter I know of on Vancouver Island; I’ve been here since winter ’86-’87. Moreover, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Against the cold, we naturally set the heat higher, which dries the air.

Normally, winter here brings mild, moist air; this winter, being so cold, has resulted in a dry indoor environment. At the same time, there have been bad colds around, from one of which I’m just recovering.

I’ve experienced malaise even beyond the cold symptoms that seems to me related to the electric heat. In response, I’ve researched the idea, and found that, indeed, dry air itself can hinder health, by the following means:

  • Dry air, interestingly, is an environment that fosters the cold virus.
  • Dry air can dry out the mucus lining of the sinuses, making it too thick, so causing headaches.
  • When the mucus lining is too dry, its ability to cleanse pathogens is reduced.

When I was a kid in the Maritimes, we had a humidifier; otherwise, for weeks at a time, the indoor air would be too dry from heating. Using a humidifier on Vancouver Island, especially during winter, would typically be hard to imagine. However, this winter, we likely would have done well to.

I hope next winter we return to mild, wet conditions. However, I might need a humidifier on hand, in case not.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: Detoxifying foot pads: do they work?

Market awareness requires continuous self-tutoring: today I researched detoxifying foot pads.

I saw an ad for detoxifying foot pads yesterday. Having never heard of them, I wondered, Do they work? Today, I researched.

According to the Mayo Clinic and also, no compelling scientific evidence has been given that detoxifying foot pads actually remove toxins from the body.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Exercise and fitness: What is creatine? How does creatine work?

The tutor generally discusses creatine, including how it can enhance high-intensity performance.

Creatine is an amino acid that can be consumed from food (mainly animal protein) or made by the liver.

Creatine is also a favourite performance-enhancing supplement among athletes engaged in strength training. lists it as the number-one supplement for faster muscle gain. (Whey protein is number 3 on the list.)

Creatine’s function seems well documented and easy to explain, as follows:

  1. Creatine, in the muscles, gains a phosphate, becoming creatine phosphate. During rest, a store of creatine phosphate is accumulated.
  2. To release energy required to contract, a muscle cell breaks a phosphate from an ATP molecule. The ATP becomes ADP.
  3. The creatine phosphate hands its phosphate over to the ADP, converting it back to ATP, which can once again be broken down for energy release.
  4. Once its creatine phosphate store is depleted, the cell turns to other energy pathways; the advantage of the creatine phosphate is expired, not to be useful again until after a period of rest.

From rest to heavy exertion, the muscle cell’s ATP stores might last only a few seconds; with the regeneration provided by the creatine phosphate, a few more seconds of fresh energy can be gained. After about 10 seconds, the help from creatine phosphate plummets; within two minutes, it’s virtually gone. The creatine phosphate won’t be replenished without a rest period.

So, for athletes trying to improve power, creatine can help. Perhaps a perfect example is football: six to fifteen seconds of intense action, followed by a rest period while the players reset for the next down.1 Tennis can also follow such a pattern. Of course, weight lifting and sprinting are two other activities to which creatine could offer benefit.

Endurance athletes, who experience few periods of rest, if any, during their events, will likely not gain noticeable performance benefit from creatine supplement.

Many studies have been done on creatine; it seems no harmful effects have been proven, if it is used within generally accepted guidelines.2 It has been recommended that an athlete should only take it once past puberty.2


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Nutrition: what does folate (folic acid) do?

The tutor explores the function of folic acid in the body.

Folate is a B-vitamin; the synthetic form used to supplement foods is folic acid, which the body converts to folate.

Folate is needed for cell division and producing certain amino acids. A deficiency may result, for instance, in megaloblastic anemia: impaired cell division produces too few, but larger, red blood cells.

Folate is important during pregnancy.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, nutrition: eggs and cholesterol

The tutor compares egg yolk to egg white and generally considers eggs.

I’ve been told that it’s best to eat the egg white without the yolk, but I’ve never believed it. Today I looked it up.

About 43% of an egg’s protein is in the yolk. However, the yolk contains more of folate, zinc and many other nutrients than the white. The abundance of nutrients in the yolk has clearly inspired the comment that “the yolk may contain all the fat, but it also contains most of the vitamins and nutrients.”1

Some people worry about the yolk because that’s where the cholesterol is found – perhaps around 180mg. However, a growing opinion is that one egg per day probably doesn’t affect the cholesterol of a healthy person (although it might for some people facing specific health conditions, such as diabetes).

When people told me to only eat the egg white, they clearly meant to avoid the fat and cholesterol.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.