People think when I tell them I am on a low carb diet, it somehow means no carbs at all. “LOW, NOT NO!” I say. Big difference.
When I mean low carb, I mean:
- Portions of carbs equal to what my body needs for energy and athletic performance
- No processed sugar as much as I can help it (i.e. if I eat a restaurant, I can’t control every little thing that goes into it)
The problem in America is that everything we eat has an unnecessary amount of carbs for what our body actually needs to function. It’s outrageous and we don’t even realize it.
Yes, we always talk about portion sizes in America but I don’t think people even know how low you need to go to make it healthy in relationship to your caloric output. You don’t realize how much less carbs you should consume. But why would you know? We aren’t taught this growing up.
I will use Annie’s mac and cheese as an example.
Side note: add to the fact that marketing these days make everything “Organic” or “homegrown” to make you believe it’s healthier.
For Annie’s whole wheat shells and white cheddar pasta:
43 g of carbs
6 g of sugar
One box is 6 ounces. So if you consume a whole box..
103.2 g carbs
14.4 g of sugar
On one single meal, you have already had 103.2 g of carbs and 14.4 of sugar.
In terms of sugar, the American Heart Association recommends:
I personally think you should have less sugar than that, but 24-36 g is still WAY less than what most American’s take in. In a single meal, it’s easy to max out on sugar already.
As for carbs, 103 g of carbs in ONE MEAL! What if you have a drink? Most drinks have carbs unless you are drinking tea or water.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans says you should have 45-65% of calories from carbs. If your daily calories is 2,000, then that’s between 900-1300 calories from carbs, which is about 225 g to 325 g a day.
In my opinion, I think that is still way too much for the average American due to the fact that most people have a sedentary lifestyle. Most people maybe get out for a workout once or twice a week. To consume carbs at 45 % of daily calories when your output is so little makes no sense to me.
I am an athlete who works out at least 2-3 hours on weekdays, with weekends averaging 5-6 hours of physical activity. And I do NOT eat the amount of carbs the average American do. It personally has not affected my athletic performance at all. I have never looked so good or been so strong in my life!
Your body gets fuel from Carbs, Protein and Fats. Carbs is the most accessible for energy. But what do you need energy for? If you are relatively inactive and sit at a desk all day, your body doesn’t need all those carbs for fuel. Add to the fact that most people don’t eat enough protein so you just end up eating lots of carbs and fat without being active= weight gain!
Not only that, most food easily accessible are simple carbs and not complex carbs. They are cheap and available at every CVS, restaurant, corner store, etc. Our society doesn’t make it easy for you to eat healthy on the go!
Because most things so readily available are carbs and because most portions give you way more carbs than you need, that’s why I recommend low carb diet for us here in America. I think 95% of people eat more than they need to, because they don’t realize it. Also, because FOOD IS TASTY!
Each person needs to determine how much carb is appropriate for him or her and that really depends on how fit you are now, how much you workout, how much you eat, your metabolism, etc. Not only that, I bet most of us neglect complex carbs. Complex carbs break down slower in your body and thus leaves you feeling full longer. We love simple carbs since sugar is ADDICTIVE, but it will make you hungry sooner, and then you eat again= weight gain!
Some friends say they can’t relate because they love carbs and things that taste good. Well, I argue that it’s because you have gotten use to the “high” carb lifestyle and don’t realize you can do low carb and still eat things you want and be happy with your food choices. More on that in my next entry!