Jean Anthelme Brillat-Saverin (in 1825) described how obesity took shape in two ways. First, that there was a natural predisposition (genetic) but – secondly in the following description – he could listen to “stout part(ies)” proclaim the joys of ”potatoes, grain or any kind of flour”.

We have been taught that low-fat, high carbohydrate diets are important to our health. But, I have to ask a question:  “Why would our bodies be designed to prefer an energy source (aka glucose) that is so toxic in high doses?” This has never made sense to me.

Bottomline, our bodies weren’t designed for the onslaught of carbohydrates that we are now consuming.  Our per capita consumption of sugar in the United States raised from 122 pounds in 1970 to 152 pounds in 2000.  This is not just a US phenomenon – the same paper shows that sugar consumption in the United Kingdom rose from just shy of 15 pounds in 1815 to 120 pounds in 2000.

Furthermore, the type of sugar has changed over the last 40 years. Table sugar consumption has actually gone down – but, the advent of High-Fructose Corn Syrup has increased by almost 15,000%. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Glucose Consumption History

Makeup of refined sugars in the US diet (Source: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/2/341.full#T1)

Our bodies were never made to eat so many carbs, and we are seeing the effect with our diabetes and obesity rates.

So, how much carbohydrate should we be eating? I am not going to give a cut and dried answer as there are genetic and activity differences between all of us – but, most ancestral eating plans talk to eating about 30 – 60 g of carbohydrates per day if you want to lose weight. If you wish to maintain weight – then you should strive for 100 – 150 g. per day. These are generally in the form of vegetables and fruit. The model I like to use (and trained on) is the following:

 

From Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint.

From Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.

As I mentioned in previous posts – lower levels of carbohydrates keep your insulin in check and help burn more body fat. Lower levels of carbohydrate also keep inflammation down as well.

So, what does this mean?

Well, let’s look at a list of common foods we eat in a typical Western diet. This does not include snacks or sodas. The Calorie count looks reasonable – well below what a woman who is trying to lose weight should eat – but, yet we aren’t.  The carbohydrate curve above would suggest why.  All that energy is being taken right to the fat cells and is not allowed to be burned off.

Breakfast Serving Size Carbs (g) Calories
Cereal, Bran Flakes 1 serving 23.7 95
Milk, 1 % 1/2 cup 6.1 52
Toast (two slices) 2 slices 27.4 162
Butter 2 pats 0 72
Jelly 2 Tbsp. 29.4 112
Orange Juice 1 cup 28.7 122
Lunch
Sandwich 2 slices bread 27.4 162
Potato Chips 1 bag 15 149
Carrots 1/2 cup 7 30
Oatmeal Cookie 1 cookie 17.2 112
Dinner
Whole Grain Pasta 1 cup 24.9 131
Store Bought Marinara   Sauce 1/2 cup 9.9 65
Grated Parmesan Cheese 2 Tbsp. 1.7 42
Tossed Salad 1 cup 2.1 10
Italian Bread 2 slices 10 54
Butter 2 pats 0 72
Low-Fat Salad Dressing 2 Tbsp. 19.6 56
TOTAL 250.1 1498

 

So, let look at an alternate.

  • Proteins contain no carbs per serving.
  • Fats contain no carbs per serving.
  • Low sugar fruits contain (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries) contain about 10 g. per serving (so, use some caution here).
  • Green, leafy vegetables contain 2.5 to 3 g per serving.
  • Cruciferous vegetables contain 2.5 to 5 g per serving and cooking method.
  • Other vegetables (such as zucchini and summer squash) have 3.5 to 4 g per serving
  • Parsnips and carrots have 10 to 13 g per serving
  • Sweet potatoes, apples and pears have 23 to 25 g per serving

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So, let’s be cautious about the low-fat foods we put in our mouths.  They increase our hunger and add the pounds.

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The Cave Woman Diva

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