All vinegars are not low GI

I’m currently doing a Ketogenic diet which I’ve blogged about on my personal blog if you’re interested. It means I need to seriously control my carb intake and eat mostly fat and protein.

I made the leafy green salad that I recommend in the blog entry and doused it in Balsamic Vinegar which I’ve always thought was a great idea for the following reason: Vinegar is known to reduce the glycemic index of any food it is added to. That means it significantly lowers the insulin spike you get from any food. This is awesome news for Low GI and Ketogenic diets – pretty much the best diets available these days.

However, when I tasted the balsamic vinegar I had used, it tasted sweet – too sweet. I checked the ingredients and was horrified to discover that it was basically sugar syrup with a vinegar flavor. This seems to be very common among balsamic vinegars as the USDA nutritional reference database indicates.

Here is the data of various vinegars and the amount of carbs (sugar) in each from which you can infer the glycemic index:

So choose your vinegar wisely and try to stick with Distilled Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar and Cider Vinegar in order of lowest to highest glycemic index. Enjoy!

Posted in Nutrition | Comments Off on All vinegars are not low GI

Nutrient Timing and how to make and use legal steroids

I asked a question recently on Quora, my favorite question/answer site where the worlds smartest people hang out:

What’s the all time best book on Sports Nutrition?

The answer that was voted #1 was Nutrient Timing by Ivy and Portman. So I bought it on Kindle for around $8 bucks. The cover looks cheesy and the talk of a “system” in the book sounds suspiciously like a late night infomercial, but the book is pure, well researched data from two well qualified Ph.D’s.

I know little about sports nutrition, so this book was a real eye opener for me. I learnt a lot about basic muscle physiology, what energy is, its many sources and how each of them converts a stored form of energy into kinetic energy.

Here are a few things I learned that I’ve put to use:

  1. If you can boost your insulin level during and immediately after exercise, your muscles will recover faster and grow faster.
  2. The best way to boost insulin during or after training is to consume a carbohydrate and protein drink. The ratio should be between 3:1 and 4:1 with carbohydrates dominating.
  3. The best carbohydrate source is plain old sugar (Sucrose).
  4. The best protein source is Whey protein.
  5. You may also benefit from antioxidants to prevent muscle oxidation by free radicals. The book recommends Vitamin C and E.
  6. The drink should be consumed immediately after exercise and then again 2 hours after and 4 hours after to try and prolong the anabolic phase where your body has high insulin levels. This will provide maximum recovery, minimize muscle protein loss and maximize muscle protein gain.

For my first experiment with this approach, I concocted a drink consisting of 2 cups of 2% milk, three heaped teaspoons of cocoa and three heaped tablespoons of white sugar. I went and swam 60 lengths in a 25m pool (just under a mile) and a good pace. I drank the whole thing 10 minutes after exercise while driving home from the gym.

The results were interesting. I immediately felt warm all over. I generally don’t consume sugar, so the sugar was a huge shock to my system. I felt like I’d taken a drug.

The next three days were actually kind of awful. I felt like I had a 3 day sugar crash. But my muscles felt stronger for some reason. I figured it was probably an illusion.

About 5 days later I hit the pool again. I had fully recovered from my last swim and thought I’d see if I felt any stronger. I had been swimming 60 lengths for several weeks. This time I passed 40 lengths and was feeling strong. So at length 50 I started doing something I’ve never done before. I did alternating sprint/normal pace swimming. One length sprint, one length to recover. I kept this up until length 80 when I stopped and was still feeling strong. I’ve swam 80 lengths many times and it was my regular swim in my 20’s (10 years ago). But I’ve never swam alternating sprints and never at the end of an 80 length set.  Once I was done I felt great, and had another hit of my new jet fuel.

My verdict on the book’s approach is that there’s definitely something to their logic. I’ve also noticed new muscle growth that I didn’t have before. If you can handle the sugar crashes, this approach could get you past a hard plateau in your training. I’m continuing to experiment hoping to find a quantity and combination of protein and carbs that gives me the benefits of a post workout insulin boost without the multi-day crash.

My current drink recipe is as follows:

I’ve varied the protein sources (milk, peanuts and egg) and the carbohydrate sources (brown sugar, molasses) and included cocoa. The goal is to make the drink more balanced and provide useful vitamins and minerals along with the protein and carbs. I also use Milk instead of Whey because it’s cheap, freely available, contains Whey, seems more natural and according to the Wikipedia entry on Whey Protein, consumer reports found that some sources contain heavy metals.

Post a comment if you try this and let me know how it goes.

Posted in Nutrition, Sports Nutrition | Comments Off on Nutrient Timing and how to make and use legal steroids

We have improved our search algorithm

Yesterday evening we launched an improved search algorithm for our nutrition search engine. You’ll notice that the relevancy for each nutrition search is vastly improved. For example, if you now do a nutrition search for beans, you’ll see ingredients listed first and then dishes from the most basic to more complex.

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80% Of our foods and ingredients now have photos

Our official image adder (otherwise known as Harold) has been toiling tirelessly and has now added images to 80% of the ingredients in our nutrition database. You’ll notice when you do a search on SkipThePie that roughly four out of five ingredients have photos.

We’re the first and only nutrition database on the Web to include photos with each ingredient or food. Woohoo!

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Welcome to SkipThePie’s Official Blog

Well it’s about time we created a place where we can post the updates and new features we’re constantly adding to SkipThePie, so here it is. Expect updates here whenever we release a new feature or a fix, or whenever the spirit moves us.

Posted in General announcements | 2 Comments