HOW MANY CARBS SHOULD WE BE EATING?
THE HUFFINGTON POST KNOWS
"What’s most important is the type of carbohydrate you chose to eat because some sources are healthier than others. The amount of carbohydrate in the diet – high or low – is less important than the type of carbohydrate in the diet. For example, healthy, whole grains such as whole wheat bread, rye, barley and quinoa are better choices than highly refined white bread or French fries." From the Harvard School of Public Health
The first thing to understand is that this is not a study from a peer-reviewed medical journal. This article came from that bastion of health information, the Huffington Post. Sure the Huffington Post will also provide information on where your favorite celebrity's newest tattoo can be found, but is that any reason to discard their site's health information? Of course not. And although the author uses the scientific literature to make her points, as you will see, the scientific literature can often be twisted to make it say what you want it to say.
The article's author, Sarah Klein, reveals to us in the first couple of paragraphs that carbohydrates are part of a balanced diet, as well as not all being created equal. I can and do buy both premises. However, she then tells us that, "carbs from whole grains or veggies don't result in the same dramatic blood sugar spike". Equating the BLOOD SUGAR spiking abilities of grains with vegetables is absurd. If you want to understand why, take three minutes to read YESTERDAY'S POST, as well as Dr. Dariush Mozaffarain's quote from the top of the page ("A bagel is no different than a bag of Skittles to your body.") Suggesting that grains --- even "whole grains" --- are the blood sugar equivalent of veggies is both reckless and dangerous --- particularly in this day and age where the vast majority of our grains are GMO or extremely hybridized. Let's take a couple of minutes to look at Klein's five reasons to eat more carbs, one at a time.
- YOU HAVE BAD BREATH: This is her reference to one of the side effects of burning fat for energy instead of burning dietary carbs. Your body goes into a state of "Ketosis" where it is releasing chemicals called Ketone Bodies. Ketosis is not dangerous and if you need to lose weight, it is an extremely desired state to be in and maintain, destite what you may have heard. Listen to what Dr. Thomas M. Devlin's 2010 textbook (Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations) says about this phenomenon. "Many medical practitioners mistake well regulated nutritional ketosis for pathological ketoacidosis." The Ketogenic Diet has been the standard for treating EPILEPSY for over 100 years. The July 2002 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Breath Acetone is a Reliable Indicator of Ketosis in Adults Consuming Ketogenic Meals), concludes that the Ketogenic diet is excellent for, "elucidating the importance of ketosis in seizure protection, and ultimately, enhancing the efficacy of the diet by improving patient monitoring". The thing is, the Ketogenic Diet has gone far beyond Epilepsy and is being used to benefit a wide array of chronic NEUROLOGICAL and metabolic problems (including OBESITY). Some people need to be in ketosis --- at least for awhile. One's breath, whether good or bad, is not a good indicator of whether or not one should be spending time in metabolic ketosis.
- YOUR WORKOUTS ARE SLIPPING: Klein's point here is that people who exercise intensely will not be able to build muscle since they are burning protein (maybe even their own muscles) for energy. She then provides a link to WebMD telling us we should be using FAT FREE chocolate milk for workout recovery. Less than a year ago, the International Society of Sports Nutrition blew this myth out of the water with a study called, Is Carbohydrate Needed to Further Stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis / Hypertrophy Following Resistance Exercise? They were looking into claims that not only was protein needed for post-exercise recovery and muscle growth, but some sort of SUGAR was needed as well. Their reasoning was that muscles recovered and grow because of the Insulin Response to the carbohydrate (usually sugar) --- something that athletes of all sorts have been practicing for decades. But is it effective and is it really necessary? The study's lead author from the University of Auckland in New Zealand concluded that, "no further beneficial actions of carbohydrates, irrespective of Glycemic Index, are evident concerning muscle hypertrophy, when a protein supplement that maximally stimulates muscle protein synthesis is ingested". In other words, if you are a serious (elite or professional) athlete who is exercising with extreme intensity and are not trying to LOSE WEIGHT, post-exercise would definitely be the best time to ingest some carbohydrates. The thing you have to remember is that exercise itself makes muscle cells much more sensitive to Insulin (as opposed to being its opposite --- INSULIN RESISTANT) so that it takes less of it to do its job of getting glucose and amino acids out of your blood and into your cells.
- YOU FEEL A LITTLE FUZZY: How many people feel "a little fuzzy" because their brains have been fried with sugar? Klein uses a "small study" of 19 women to prove her point (19 women). Interestingly enough, this study was looking at the Atkins Diet. After the initial "Induction Phase" (virtually zero carbs) the subjects were given a few carbs. Their memory improved to normal. But here's the thing; this was still the Atkins Diet --- not terribly different from the PALEO DIET I have been promoting for many years. In other words, even with a few added carbs, these folks were still in Ketosis. This LOW CARB feeling of fuzziness is experienced by some people who begin a low carb diet, and is (along with a number of other symptoms) commonly referred to as the "Low Carb Flu" or "Keto Flu". Like the real FLU, it is a temporary condition that will resolve itself. This one happens to get better once your body gets used to metabolizing fat. It may take a few days to get over it, but it is not serious and it will get better. Trust me when I tell you that your energy levels will not only be better, but will be more constant (fewer peaks and VALLEYS) when you eat a diet that is based on STRICTLY CONTROLLING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. And like I have been telling people for years, the largest majority of our nation's health problems (including ALZHEIMER'S --- severe "fuzziness" if you will) have their origins in UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR --- the number one health problem facing Americans today.
- YOU'RE CRANKY: Klein tells us that, "people following a low-carb plan consistently report feeling more irritable, stressed and fatigued, even when their diet results in weight loss." But is this really true? Listen; I get it. DEPRESSION sucks. But are you really going to go back the the HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE to get that sugar-fix that will temporarily lift your mood? Lots of people do (HERE). The truth is, for most people there are far better ways of dealing with Depression than antidepressant meds, and definitely better ways than eating more carbs. One of these is EXERCISE. Listen to what Olga Khazan says in the March 24, 2014 issue of The Atlantic. "Depression is the most common mental illness—affecting a staggering 25 percent of Americans—but a growing body of research suggests that one of its best cures is cheap and ubiquitous. In 1999, a randomized controlled trial showed that depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise improved as much as those treated with Zoloft. A 2006 meta-analysis of 11 studies bolstered those findings and recommended that physicians counsel their depressed patients to try it. A 2011 study took this conclusion even further: It looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission—a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone." Furthermore, the relationship between CARBS, SEROTONIN & DEPRESSION is not necessarily what you have been led to believe it was. And really; are you going to use carbs as a mood enhancer? Unfortunately, a lot of people try. Not the end of the world as long as you are using something like sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, most people in this situation are using JUNK FOOD.
- YOU'RE IRREGULAR: The assertion here is that grains are the best source of dietary fiber, and without them you will be constipated. Huh? Look at IBS for a moment (these are the folks who bounce back and forth between diarrhea and CONSTIPATION). We now know IBS is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE, which means by default (you know --- guilt by association) that it is on some level, being associated with intake of grains in the peer-reviewed literature --- particularly GLUTEN-containing grains. Unfortunately, too many people look at Low Carb Diets as "Meat Diets". While this is not necessarily as 'dangerous' as one may think (HERE), the truth is that these sorts of diets are not really based on meat, fowl, fish, eggs, or any other source of protein, like many would have you believe. Pure, plain, and simple; they are based on vegetation. Yes you get your protein. But your diet is based on vegetables and vegetation. If you are eating Low Carb and still find yourself constipated, you need to click on the "Constipation" link above, or start reading about GUT HEALTH. You will find far better solutions than using your MORNING TOAST to keep you regular.
The truth is, all of the points made by Klein have some degree of truth in them. However, depending on your weight and / or health status, using carbs to solve any of these problems could potentially backfire on you. If you want to lose weight and get healthy in the process, you need to, at the very least, explore THESE POSTS. No; there is not a one-size-fits-all diet that can solve every person's unique problems. But the information you'll find in this site has a much better chance of helping you find the pathway back to health and happiness; particularly if you are dealing with CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES.