The GI index was developed in the 1980s as a tool to help determine foods that can help manage or prevent type 2 diabetes, and due to how information spreads and mis-spreads over time, it became some sort of twisted chart to determine what carbs are good for you and not good to eat.
It’s also highly flawed, as it never considered how much you ate, how you prepared them, combinations of macronutrients, and micronutrients.
According to the GI index, a microwaved potato is higher than white bread. Common sense says, “what the hell?” because that would mean you would avoid potatoes instead of white bread most times. This isn’t helpful in the scheme of things, since the facts are this: how MUCH you eat is vastly more important than an out-of-date index to manage weight and medical issues such as diabetes.
My doctor, Spencer, had a post one time detailing his success with diabetic patients not by using low carbs, or the GI index, but with a sensible calorie-controlled diet that allowed for plenty of carbs to fuel their needs. I have seen A1C numbers lowered dramatically in clients who followed the same principles.
So where did the “gummy bears between sets” come from?
A massive misappropriation, assumption, and bro-science. That’s where.
Candy is made from either high fructose corn syrup or simple white table sugar. The GI index of HFCS is 70-75 while white table sugar is between 60-65. Bro-science adherents assume that because those two ingredients are nutritionally empty and pure sweetness, they must automatically mean they are “fast carbs” and spike your insulin enough to magically be used to shuttle nutrients and glucose to your muscles faster when used around training, or in the middle of your session.
The truth is simpler.
They don’t work that way.
A solid pre-workout meal containing low fat, plenty of protein, and adequate carbs for your goals is enough to fuel your session. Training for 45-60m with rest periods during a non-endurance based workout doesn’t require 100g of carbs intra-workout to fuel your gains.
In fact, if you want to perch on the GI index hill, you would have to eat white potatoes intra-workout instead of gummy bears since they are higher on the GI index and would trigger an insulin response more effectively. Nobody wants to sit down between sets and shovel a nuked potato into their mouth; gummy bears are easier and taste better.
Both are still pointless, but one is just a justification for people who want to eat candy.
Go to any PL meet and you will inevitably see many people with bags of Swedish Fish, gummy bears, and other sugary snacks. Do you really think they need a carb load for nine heavy singles? No, they sure as shit don’t.
Calories matter, protein matters, carbs matter in the presence of performance and aesthetic goals, but the vast majority of people do not need a carb load during training sessions, and especially not handfuls of gummy bears that are nutritionally crippled, low satiety, and take up a significant portion of calories when over-consumed.
Eleven Haribo Gummy Bears have 140 calories where 33g of those are carbs. Eleven. That is 39g on the food scale.
Two slices of bland-ass Wonder Bread has 120 calories and 24g from carbs. it also has a hell of a lot more volume of food than 11 goddamn gummy bears.
In closing, if you are trying to hack food using the GI Index thinking it will give you the critical component to carb and nutrient timing – you are hacking away at a myth that needs to be buried.
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