How Many Carbs Should I Eat?

Just how many carbs should you eat?

It’s a loaded question, I think. 

It’s an age old question and getting some great research to elucidate an answer. 

Looks like some research is shedding more light on this never-ending question.

A recent meta-analysis that included more than 400,000 people found that the risk of dying was higher for people who followed high carb diets (over 70% of calories from carbs) and those who followed low-carb diets (less than 40% carbs.)

This report published in the Lancet Public Health Journal was a real eye-opener because this is the first time, to my knowledge, that an actual percentage of calories from carbs has been specifically called out.

And I love it because it’s helpful to see some research backing up what I see happen in “real life” situations: really low carb diets pretty much suck.

The authors concluded that diets providing about 50-55% of total energy from carbohydrates were associated with lower mortality risk.

how many carbs should I eat

The authors also note that the higher mortality risk was seen in people who when going low carb (less than 40% of total calories), replaced those calories with protein and fats from animals instead of plants.

Think bacon, cream and organ meats instead of chickpeas, avocado and nuts, for example.

So yes, it matters what we replace the calories with.

This is partly why, I think, carbs got a bad rap to begin with because when the low-fat craze hit us hard in the 90s, we took out the fats and put in the refined, non-nutritious carbs (hello Snackwells and the like.)

This did nothing to help the obesity epidemic as the refined, fibre-devoid carbs were easily digested, spiked insulin levels, gave our brain a hit of dopamine and left us wanting more.

Whatever happens in our obsessed culture, the bottom line is to aim to get the right proportion of the highest quality whole foods possible.

The other aspect of high protein/low carb diet that has been shown in the research, is that although the high protein/low carb diet is better in the first 6 months of helping people get the weight off than a more “balanced diet”, that doesn’t last.

Around the 12 month mark, the weight starts to creep up again more so in the high protein/low carb dieters(2).

And recent, early animal-model studies have shown an increase in Type 2 Diabetes risk a ketogenic diet. In this study, the authors found increased insulin resistance, possibly from the by-products of fatty-acid breakdown. These by-products may affect crucial signalling pathways in the brain(3).

Plus, with very low carb eating, you’re at risk of not getting enough fibre, antioxidants and other plant-based disease fighting compounds.

And if we’re talking about weight loss alone, you’ve got people on both sides of the issue – those that say the macronutrients are super important and you’ve got those who say, well not really. Just find ways to cut calories.

Holy insert palm to forehead in exasperated frustration :{

But I digress…

how many carbs should I eat

Who knows if the pendulum will ever swing back to the low-fat days (my healthy gut bacteria says likely not anytime soon.)

Whatever happens in our obsessed culture, the bottom line is to aim to get the right proportion of the highest quality whole foods possible.

When it comes to prediabetes reversal, I tend to recommend 40-45% of total energy from carbohydrate, depending on the individual and degree of prediabetes.

Want to know what 40-45% of carbs looks like for you?

Grab that smart phone, get tracking on MyFitnessPal and see what it says.

Or maybe your hubby will do it for you, like the gal who messaged me 🙂

how many carbs should I eat?

Beating prediabetes is possible. 

Use carbs to your advantage and know that the right amount can actually help get your blood sugars back to normal.

If you want to see what 40% carb diet could look like for you, grab my freebie below: How Many Carbs Should I Eat.

Hugs and high fives,

~April

how many carbs should I eat

References

1.Seidelmann, SB et al (2018). Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health. Vol 3; e419-e428. Accessed on-line at: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-X

2. Nordmann et al (2006). Effects of low-carbohydrate vs low-fat diets on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. Feb 13;166(3):285-93.

3. Short term feeding of Ketogenic Diet induces more severe Hepatic Insulin Resistance than obesogenic High Fat Diet, Journal of Physiology (2018). DOI: 10.1113/JP275173 

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