Carbs

Carbs –  number 3 in my diet after I set my protein and fat intake.  A lot of experts claim carbs aren’t necessary, but their wrong.  Metabolism, thyroid, muscle and liver glycogen, feel good chemicals, brain fuel (to think straight), and hormones go down the drain on chronic low carb diets.  Many of these problems can be avoided by getting in at least 120 grams a day.  This is the sweet spot for most people that don’t exercise.  Since I exercise every day I burn through a decent amount in addition to the amount I need to maintain normal functioning.

Many low carb experts recommend under 50 grams a day to lose weight and I use to follow these diets, but this is really bad advice (especially if you exercise and lift weights).  Eating this amount works well for a very limited period of time and after that the metabolism basically shuts down.  Low carb diets mimic starvation due to the minimal effects they have on insulin.  The problem is if insulin is shut down for too long, then many problems start to arise and the body actually starts to store fat.  These experts bash carbs, but the references they cite are always based on high carb diets.  (In other words, they always show extreme examples)  A little newsflash, you can eat carbs without eating a high carb diet.  I agree that high carb diets (300-400grams a day) may be bad for some people, but what about an optimal level of carbs (100-200g a day)?  These experts don’t understand middle ground and grossly exaggerate their research with extreme cases.   The point is if you need 120 grams of carbs a day for basal metabolic functions, then why do they recommend eating below 50 grams?

How do you reap the benefits of carbs without all the negatives?  Eat what you need, pretty simple advice.  This is why I eat a balanced diet everyday and have stopped eating all these unnecessary restrictive diets. If you need a certain amount of carbs, proteins and fats everyday to avoid long term health problems, then why restrict any of these macros?  Depending on who you ask many people consider 120-150grams of carbs to be a low carb diet and others extremely high and out of the question (Atkins), but I consider it an optimal carb diet.  Its the perfect amount to reap the benefits, while avoiding all the negatives of going below 50 grams a day.

 

Here is a list of benefits that carbs provide:

  • Metabolism – Controlled largely by glucose (carbs)
  • Liver health – liver needs glucose to function properly
  • Enhanced fat burning – Leptin – related to insulin and carbs.  Long term very low carb diets repress this hormone.
  • Increased hormones and testosterone
  • Increased muscle – muscle loss occurs if carbs drop too low
  • Increase immune function
  • Maintains thyroid
  • Prevents vitamin deficiency
  • Insulin sensitive – Become insulin resistant on long term low carb diets
  • Increased cognitive capacity – need a certain amount of carbs to think straight
Pumpkin Oats 3/4 cup of Oatmeal 3/4 cup of almond milk 1 scoop of protein powder Splenda 1/4 cup of pumpkin (too much overpowers the other flavors) Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin Oats
  • Sources
  • Fruit -berries, bananas, apples
  • Vegetables – all kinds
  • Beans – refried, black, kidney
  • Incidentals – from other non carb based foods (these to add up)
  • Starches
    • Oatmeal – rolled and weight control maple and brown sugar
      Potatoes – white and sweet
      Rice – Sticky white, brown, jasmine
      Bread – All kinds
  • Other – Low fat waffles, pancakes, low fat chips
  • * My main sources

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