I can tell you, that for me, carbs are no bueno – but for many of you, they may be fine, to an extent. Many people do not understand the concept of insulin resistance. THIS is the root of the obesity problem in this country that is only understood by maybe a small percent of a fraction of the people in this country. Give me a few minutes to explain.
As a child, I grew up eating tons of pastas, breads, and cereals. Most of my diet was probably carbs and fats, with low amounts of protein. This wasn’t my parents’ fault, I was a picky eater. The only real proteins they could get in me were hot dogs and hamburgers. Hot dogs are not gifted with a lot of protein, by the way. Burgers are decent, but not a ton – but both with overhead of buns and perhaps a side of fries. Or, cheese.
What you learn is that your body really isn’t designed well to deal with carbs when you are sedentary. For people like me who grew up with massive carb loads, probably by the time we hit early teens we are probably insulin resistant. What this essentially means is, big picture, our body doesn’t process carbs all that well and we tend to store them a whole lot more easily than most people. The byproduct of this process, as well, has you tired and lethargic. If you happen to notice, our nation is getting fatter and fatter by the year. However, we are also getting poorer as a nation by the year. This contributes to what we put on the plate.
Protein costs continue to rise faster than wages, so it is much cheaper to then feed your family with carbs. It may have been subtle at first in the 1970s, but as time has gone on, I can guarantee you the percent of carbs ingested by people have gone up inversely to the wealth of Americans. Growing up pretty poor, I could tell you a pound of pasta and a jar of “no frills” sauce from pathmark with 3 slices of store brand bread and 1 pound of 72% ground beef (the cheap stuff with 20:1 omega 6:3) mixed in was my poison. It was also pretty cheap to feed a family of four. But this situation is setting up an entire next generation to be obese – through habits and food insecurity.
My belief now is that you have been fed lies about how healthy orange juice is. How you should have lots of servings of grains. How you should not eat meat. If you actually broke down your macro nutrients, my bet is that you have a relatively high number of carbs.
This is what was told to us my entire life. IF you eat this, you will be healthy.
The problem with this, is that entire bottom row does nothing but to spike your insulin. The problems they had in the 1970s dealt with “how can we still get an American 1800 calories, but on a budget”? This is your answer. The PERCENTAGE of carbs increased in everyone’s diets.
I can tell you this. For whatever goddamn reason, they don’t want to give you the direct correlation of sugar/carbs causes type 2 diabetes. I don’t know why, but you punish yourself with bread, pasta, and peanut butter cups, you go to your doctor, and he says your HBA1C is high, take this pill to lower it.
My mom was a sweets addict her whole life. Got type 2 diabetes, then pancreatic cancer (which produces insulin) – then died 15 months later. While she was a type 2 diabetic, her doctor told her to “lose weight”. Funny, she went to weight watchers and they told her she could eat all the fruit she wanted. WHAT??????????????????????????????????????????
I hope this COVID bullshit the last few years have awoken you to how bad a lot of our science is. Food science is among the worst.
So if you don’t question science, and challenge it, how is it science?
So it appears the food pyramid was NEVER TESTED for anything. Doctors would ask if you were compliant to it, without ever understanding the effects on the body.
Today, we have healthcare going out of control. No one is questioning why 1 in 3 get cancer today, and 120 years ago it was 1 in 30? No one wonders why 120 years ago diabetes was a rare disease, now half of adults are diabetic or pre-diabetic?
ASK YOURSELF….WHAT HAS CHANGED.
Americans seem to diet all the time. Yet we get fatter, all the time. As we are getting poorer. Is this because we all can’t help but stuff our faces with bags of oreos, or could there be perhaps a wrong strategy about what percent of our food SHOULD be carbs?
The “chubby” athlete
There’s a saying I know now – “you cannot outrun a bad diet”. Most people just see those overweight and assume the worst.
- They are lazy
- They have no self control
- They don’t try hard enough
- If only you ate a salad
Most of the issues with the above can be true, to some extent. But why is someone lazy and YOU are not? I can tell you that my life changed a lot when I first went to “40/30/30”, which is 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein. What I noticed was that I must have been north of 50-60% most of my life with carbs. Some of the meals I remember..
Before baseball – 2 hot dogs OR french bread pizza OR pizza bread (that was maybe 4-5 slices of bread with some sauce and mozzarella).
Wrestling – 2 fat free hot dogs on a bun. Spaghetti Os. Breakfast was a plain bagel. Lunch was spaghetti with meat sauce. Broke my foot.
Running – big plate of pasta and 3 slices of bread.
My dad used to tell me how athletes would carb load to have energy before events. So, that’s what I did. And….not great results.
However, one thing anyone who has lots of carbs will notice. It spikes your insulin, and with this, you get tired. This insulin is dispersed from your pancreas to shuttle the glucose out of your blood into your cells. You feel tired. Often I’d eat that pasta and an hour later right as I was going to run, I’d be tired and want to pass out.
Now – Imagine living most of your life in this form of haze and fog. Now, imagine someone removed the fog. This is essentially the root reason how I lost 175 pounds. Not getting crushed with insulin spike 8 times a day does that for you.
You can be the best athlete on the planet, but if you have a terrible, high carb diet, you, too – will be lazy and tired.
So the 40/30/30 for me was the start. I was tracking all of my macronutrients daily, and the carbs I had fueled my workouts, but I also mixed them with proteins and fats – as well as had higher fiber carbs, with items lower on the glycemic index, and WOW it changed my life.
For me, “pure keto” was a little intense, but for all intents and purposes I interchange keto and low carb, and I probably shouldn’t. When you strictly talk about KETO, it is an EXTREMELY restrictive diet. You are in ketosis at all times. With Atkins, it starts in ketosis, and steps up gradually to be a little less restrictive. Then there’s “low carb high fat” which tries to differentiate itself from an atkins which might steer you towards protein that is potentially too high for your kidneys. The Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) is more like 10% carbs, 65% fat, 25% protein. Then you have the meat only people – which I can never do because these people have to eat all of the organ meats in order to get the rest of the nutrients they need.
All of these, to some extent, are far below the 40/30/30 in terns of carb intake. I settled for me on a TOP end of 75-120 carbs a day. I tried to do a 40/30/30 again from a year ago, and it didn’t take long until I found myself back in patterns of much higher carbs. This led to my most recent gain. No bueno.
I believe IF I track all of my macros, I can do a 40/30/30. But you REALLY have to be good with measuring everything out. If you don’t, it’s extremely easy to end up with 50-60% carbs again. And – for people like me who may be insulin resistant – I would tend to store those carbs. In this respect, two people can consume the same amount of calories (physics) but one entity can add the glucose into their cells much better than the other.
This is where the calorie only people get it wrong. Our bodies are biomechanical, and with this, yes – you need energy to run, but many are so focused on the energy aspect and not understanding the hormonal aspect. For example, people tell you to not eat eggs due to cholesterol, but they completely gloss over the fact that cholesterol is what your brain is made of, and is used to repair things in your body. And, your body produces a significant amount of cholesterol. So food science for all of those years said eggs were bad. Now they are good? Taubes covers the hormonal aspect of it pretty well, but Dr. Lustig completely blew my mind when he said giving your kid orange juice is essentially the same, biology-wise, as giving him a beer for your liver. When you understand what “non alcoholic fatty liver disease” is, and realize children get this – and how they get it – you start looking at fructose differently.
I believe that anyone who is obese should start tracking their calories, but specifically their macronutrients. If they can understand that a root cause of them storing all of their food and being tired all the time may in fact be them becoming insulin resistant – then you have to attack weight loss not as a caloric problem, but a HORMONAL problem. Meaning – you have to ingest foods that allow your body to not get smashed all the time with insulin.
So when people think of carbs, they think of sugar and candy. But there’s very little difference between a glass of orange juice or apple juice and a coca cola. Many of you won’t give your kid soda, but then have no problem giving them a juice bottle.
The idea here is to re-formulate the nutrition going into your body to make your insulin-resistant body work better.
Now, 40/30/30 is a GREAT entry point for most of you to look at. It should take the high end carb stuff off and allow you to not be in a tired fog all the time. However, when you do have carbs – try to have higher fiber carbs, complex carbs, and mix them with proteins and fats.
COMPLEX carbs take more effort to break down, but they still break down to glucose. Meaning, there’s not a LOT of difference between a plate of pasta, a loaf of bread, and scoops of sugar. All break down to glucose. A steak, is mostly proteins, fats, and water with no carbs. No carbs means it doesn’t tremendously spike your insulin, although there is some movement with the protein.
So a 40/30/30 might be your first step towards understanding the makeup of food on your plate. For me, I felt I was insulin resistant and with that, lower carb diets work tremendously for me. However – you have to be careful here. There’s a kind of “dead zone” where if you are not keto, but not 40/30/30, you can be in a situation where your body is running primarily on carbs, and when you only have 20-25% of your intake as carbs, you can be lethargic and tired – and hungry. You can have 100 pounds on you, but if you are at like 25% carbs, you can be hangry like you haven’t eaten in a month. Your body is sitting on 350,000 spare calories, yet your hormones are telling you that you are hungry? Why??????????????
If you decide someday you want to do low carb, I would recommend you read a lot about it. Start with a ketosis induction for a few months – after you talk to your doctor. And, do not confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis. They are two entirely different things that people want to confuse you about. ONCE your body learns well how to burn fat as the primary source of energy through sustained lipolysis, you can directly tap into that 350,000 calorie store of energy without being hungry all the time. You fix what’s on the plate, and mysteriously your body understands it has a lot of energy already there.
AFTER you have done this, it’s then relatively easy to add some more carbs and target them around your training. At my peak, I was probably having 75-125g of carbs a day on perhaps a 2400 calorie diet. That’s at a peak maybe about 20% carbs. BUT – this was probably with 1 hour of training or more a day. Lots of walking. So whatever carbs I was taking in, started to get broken down into glucose that I was immediately using during training and refilling my glycogen stores in my muscles so I can do uphill bikes/runs.
I would also once every 3-4 weeks have an off night or off weekend. I promised my 13 year old stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut, so I plan on going there and eating it. I plan on hiking for an hour or so that day, and trying to eat a lean lunch. Still, this may put me at 200g of carbs for the day. It WILL kick me out of ketosis, I will step on the scale the next day after drinking tons of water, and I will weigh 5-7 pounds more. THAT IS WATER. The next day, I go back to low carb, and in a few days all of the water weight is out of my system and I’m back to the weight I was before the Pizza Hut. THIS is how you do a low carb diet for life. You have 80% or so of your time where you’re low carb, target whatever carbs you do have around training, and occasionally have a regular night out.
The problems with this occur usually when you have those “targeted carbs” and don’t train. Then your “cheats” become every weekend rather than once a month. For 2 years on low carb, I lost 100 pounds and tracked ZERO calories. AFTER I hit my goal, I hurt my back and a million other things hit me. I didn’t change what I was eating for like 1-2 years, but I was gaining weight back. IF you are doing low carb and not watching the calorie intake, you need to be training hard.
For me, I feel like when I have excess weight, low carb is the best way for me, as being insulin resistant, to drop pounds. I feel, for ME, if I’m having carbs, they will be targeted around INTENSE working out. I WANT to live a life around 40/30/30, but feel perhaps the only way I can ever do that is to somehow make my body more sensitive to insulin – and I feel the only way I can reverse these effects is by weight training, having low carbs, training with weights fasted, and walking/hiking. I want to add cardio, but will do that when my weight drops 50 pounds or so as to not hurt my back again. Then, when doing it, I have to also ensure I’m doing core training, do NOT go too long or too hard, and once I get to the desired weight, I can then sculpt myself to a triathlon athlete. This would take me from a muscular 185 to a lean 170ish. To me, longevity here is the key- but being obese, I MUST get to the 185 first with weight training to defeat the insulin resistance.
Your mileage may vary, but I can tell you, I think people with multiple PhDs need to start looking at the carb composition of the American diet and start making changes.
Overall, one has to think about how our bodies were designed. Where did humans 20,000 years ago get carbs? When we did find berries in warmer months, perhaps we stored them for between kills? Perhaps people need to realize that ketosis and fasting are natural human states. That the nobel prize winning research in 2016 on autophagy needs to be part of everyone’s understanding of nutrition and cancer/diabetes prevention?
Low carb also makes fasting relatively easy. I’m just over the limit for ketosis, so when I do OMAD, I can literally feel the switch in my brain happen when I hit ketosis. So what I would do on “fasting Fridays” was have my giant salad with chicken on a Thursday night, then eat nothing on Friday other than my half and half in my coffee. No lunch or dinner, then Sat morning before my workout I was having a smoothie with pre-workout. The smoothie may have been milk, a banana, ice, blueberries, a green powder scoop, a pre workout scoop, and a protein scoop (vanilla or something neutral). I’d then hit the workout about 90 mins later and any of those carbs would help provide a tremendous power workout.
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