How Many Carbohydrates Should You Eat?

Is carbohydrate the body’s preferred fuel?

According to Paul Jaminet, PhD:

One often hears that glucose is the body’s “primary fuel.” This is quite mistaken. It is true that all human cells can, if need be, metabolize glucose. But mitochondria, the energy producers in most human cells, prefer to burn fat. So in the body, fat is the preferred and primary fuel, except in specialist cells that lack mitochondria (red blood cells) or avoid fat metabolism (neurons).

Daily glucose needs vary, but it is likely that we need about 400-650 daily glucose calories, either from diet, manufactured by protein, or replaced with ketones.
 
Dangers of Too Few Carbs
 
Too little glucose can cause stress on the liver, toxicity and reduced longevity, impaired immune function, loss of mucus production, compromised gut barrier, compromised blood-brain barrier, impaired Vitamin C absorption, adrenal fatigue, low thyroid function (weight gain, depression, brittle nails, fatigue, memory problems, inability to tolerate cold/heat, cramps, low body temperature, hair loss). While the Atkins diet works for many people, for some, the low levels of carbs (20-50 grams per day in the beginning) can be too low and put too much stress on the body.
 
Dangers of Too Many Carbs
 
Hyperglycemia can cause nerve damage, organ damage, heart disease, stroke, bacterial infections, and cancer progression. Insulin resistance can occur from too many carbs, which leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is about 55% carb and only about 30% fat, which is a diet that leads to hunger, cravings, and inevitable weight gain for many, if not most.
 
Four Levels of Carbs – Your Choice (Examples given are for an average 2000 calorie per day diet – Your calorie needs may vary)
Please note: The sample menus below are not intended to be advice for what you SHOULD eat. They are just offered to give an idea of what a day at that level would look like for an average person who eats 2000 calories per day.
 
Carb Very Restricted: May Be Best for Weight Loss (10-20% Carb), Shouldn’t Stay at This Level Long-Term
10-20% of daily calories from carbs = 200-400 calories per day from carbs = 50-100 grams carb per day
Example Day: 2000 calories, 150 g fat (65%), 70 g carb (15%), 99 g protein (20%)
Breakfast: 3 eggs, Smoothie (1 cup spinach, ¾ cup berries, 1 T olive oil), tea w/ 2 T coconut oil
Lunch: 4 oz ground beef, 1 cup sweet potato w/ 1.5 T butter
Snack: 6 slices bacon
Dinner: 6 oz salmon, ½ cup carrots w/ 1 T butter, ¾ cup broccoli w/ 1 T butter
 
Carb Restricted: Best for Longevity, May Be Optimal Level (20-30% Carb)
20-30% of daily calories from carbs = 400-600 calories per day from carbs = 100-150 grams per day
Example Day: 2000 calories, 141 g fat (62%), 105 g carb (21%), 82 g protein (17%)
Breakfast: 2 eggs, Smoothie (1 cup spinach, ½ cup berries, 1 T olive oil), tea w/ 2 T coconut oil
Lunch: 4 oz ground beef, 1 cup sweet potato w/ 1.5 T butter, ½ cup broccoli w/ 1 T butter
Snack: 6 slices bacon
Dinner: 4 oz salmon, ½ cup carrots w/ ½ T butter, 1 cup rice w/ ½  T butter
 
Carb Neutral: Best for Minimizing Stress on the Body- May FEEL Best for Most People (30-40% Carb)
30-40% of daily calories from carbs = 600-800 calories per day from carbs = 150-200 grams per day
Example Day: 2000 calories, 126 g fat (55%), 143 g carb (30%), 82 g protein (15%)
Breakfast: 2 eggs, Smoothie (1 cup kale, ½ cup berries, ½ cup coconut milk), tea w/ 2 T coconut oil
Snack: 2 clementines
Lunch: 4 oz ground beef, 1 cup sweet potato w/ 1.5 T butter, ½ cup broccoli w/ 1 T butter
Snack: 3 slices bacon, ½ cup berries
Dinner: 4 oz salmon, ½ cup carrots w/ ½ T butter, 1 cup rice w/ ½  T butter, salad (1 cup spinach, 5 cherry tomatoes, 2 small mushrooms)
 
Carb Overfeeding: Best for Fertility, Athletic Performance, Hypothyroid (40-50% Carb)
40-50% of daily calories from carbs = 800-1000 calories per day from carbs = 200-250 grams per day
Example Day: 2000 calories, 108 g fat (50%), 173 g carb (35%), 88 g protein (15%)
Breakfast: 2 eggs, Smoothie (1 cup kale, ½ cup berries, ½ cup coconut milk), tea w/ 1 T coconut oil, 1 cup sweet potato w/ 1 T butter
Snack: 2 clementines
Lunch: 2 oz ground beef, 1 cup rice pasta w/ tomato sauce, ½ cup broccoli w/ 1 T butter
Snack: ½ cup berries
Dinner: 4 oz salmon, ½ cup carrots w/ ½ T butter, 1 cup rice w/ 1  T butter, salad (1 cup spinach, 5 cherry tomatoes, 2 small mushrooms)
 
How To Count Carbs
The easiest way to figure all this out is to go to www.fitday.com and sign up for a free account. Then you can enter in all the foods you eat for athe day and it will tell you how many calories you ate, as well as how many grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. It will also give you a nice pie chart to show your percentages. You can create your own foods if you want to. So for example, I created a food called Pumpkin Coconut Pancakes by first entering all the ingredients for that recipe in my daily food log to find out the calories and grams of fat, protein, and carb for the entire recipe. Then I calculated a per pancake amount for calories, carbs, protein, and fat, and created a food based on that. It’s a little cumbersome, but doable. You save that custom food and then whenever you eat it, you can just add that food to your log and you are done.

Remember, how much you eat and what your macronutrient ratios are is HIGHLY individual. Cultures around the world have thrived on as little as 5% carbohydrate (Inuit) and as much as 75% carbohydrate (Kitava). The common denominator that seems to account for their good health is the lack of toxins (grains, industrial oil, and excess sugar). You need to be your own detective and figure out what works best for your body. And remember, what works well now might not work well in a year, if your health or circumstances change. There was a time in my life when I absolutely thrived on 30 grams of carbohydrate a day, but now that I am older and have MS, I need much more carb than that and feel best at around 100 grams a day or even more. Everyone is unique. Every time is unique. Listen to your doctor. Listen to your body. Figure out what works best for YOU!

 

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