I’d like to thank everyone who has been attending our current four-week nutrition class at BFC. We’ve covered a lotof stuff so far in the first 3 weeks. I thought it would be a good idea to recap some of the main points for you guys and anyone else checking this blog out. Here we go:
The “battle of the bulge” AKA the obesity epidemic in the US is a battle that we’re handily losing. The number of adults considered obese has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The problem with this is that we’re seeing diseases like diabetes and heart problems that typically have shown up later in life are affecting younger and younger generations. Definitely not a good trend.
So if we’re all trying to eat less fat and less calories overall, then why are we still gaining weight?
Maybe the so-called experts have missed the boat on this one. Maybe we need to radically change our eating habits in order to radically change our waistlines and our health. Here’s the first step:
Carbs range from simple to complex but ultimately your body breaks all carbohydrates down to glucose. It uses glucose as a cheap and easy energy source. The cells (mainly muscle and liver cells) transform glucose into a bigger molecule called glycogen that serves as an energy reserve when the body needs more glucose. Muscle glycogen is used by the muscle cells but liver glycogen can be used by other organs. So far so good.
The problem comes in when we have chronically elevated insulin levels due to excess carbohydrate intake. Insulin is a storage hormone that is secreted by the pancreas to allow cells of the body to take in glucose from the blood. Insulin is also a storage hormone for fat and inhibits fat mobilization (use) from fat cells.
Bottom line: Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat. (Good Calories, Bad Calories-Gary Taubes 2007)
So how many calories from carbs do we need in our diet? Would you believe zero? That’s right! Carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient for the body. Now don’t get me wrong, fruits and vegetables provide wonderful vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body, but carbs themselves are not necessary. Here’s the rub- the same guy or gal who would tell you they can’t live without carbs are the same ones eating bread and sweets instead of fruits and veggies. Making better carb choices will have a huge impact on your waist and ultimately your health.
Here’s the plan:
Mark Sisson who posts Mark’s Daily Apple has a lot to say about nutrition. His Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan outlines carbohydrate intake for individuals who want to- maintain body composition, lose weight, or are highly active. Here it is in a nutshell:
If you are at ideal body composition now, 100-150 grams of carbohydrate per day is enough to keep you out of ketosis (and ketosis is NOT a bad thing) but away from storing excess as fat if you are the least bit active.
If you are looking to lose body fat, keeping carbs under 80 grams per day will help immensely in lowering insulin and taking fat out of storage.
If you are training hard for long periods of time, you should add more carbs (about 100 grams extra per day for every hour of training).