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Why Low Carb Works Better for Some

Friday, March 15, 2013

Some people can eat breads, pastas, rice and potatoes without any negative effect. I envy the people who lost weight just counting calories (no matter the source) and exercising. For me, it wasn't enough.

While I was in Spain and France, I noted slim and healthy locals eating breads and pastries. In Korea, cups of rice were consumed with every meal. A person with no issue eating these foods might conclude these populations don't have weight issues with carbs, therefore there is no issue with carbs.

This is erroneous. These populations never gained excessive weight they had to lose in the first place.

From my personal anecdotal experience, eating a low to moderate amount of carbs in maintenance is not an issue. However, if I want to spur weight loss, then I need to cut it back.

I gained about 5lbs over the holidays eating breads, stuffing, and baked goods. To lose it, I stopped eating them. I ate only protein and veg.

Like many people, as a kid I could mostly eat whatever I wanted without too much thought about it. There was certainly a genetic factor, but what tipped me over the threshold was a period of metabolic abuse. I consumed excessive amounts of sugary sodas, margaritas, potato chips, french fries, hamburger buns, pastas, and desserts. Excessive amounts of sugar is toxic to cells. Insulin receptors become less sensitive, shut down or die. All cells become less sensitive as they age, but sugar overload accelerates it. Once you lose insulin sensitivity, it is gone forever. The damage is permanent.

The insulin receptors that go dormant can be revitalized with exercise and diet, but the damaged ones will never come back. If this gets bad enough, it eventually becomes pre-diabetes or diabetes.

The more insulin sensitivity you lose, the harder it is to lose weight and keep it off. This is a factor in why some people seem to have more or less problems with carbs than others. Some people will be able to resume eating a small amount of carbs after they reach their weight goals. Others have to eat lower amounts forever. It depends on the amount of cumulative damage.

I did enough damage that I cannot lose weight without cutting carbs, but I maintain ok. Personally, I cannot stay very low carb for a long period of time. There are drawbacks to a high carb diet that no one tells you about, and I'm not going to be one of those people who says there are none on low carb, either. Constipation and a potassium drop are two issues I get with long term low carb. I've found that carb cycling where I eat more amounts of sweet potatoes, rice, potatoes or fruit, then drop them off at intervals works best for me.

I will never again be able to eat as much pizza, burgers, soda or margaritas as I did in my 20s, but would I really want to? How much better off would I have been if I just ate unprocessed meats and veggies to begin with? Maybe I should have spent less time making fun of health nuts and joined them. I became one eventually anyway, and found I liked it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    And of course, traditional diets in France and Korea do not include High Fructose Corn Syrup, 24-oz sodas, or huge handfuls of deep fried potato chips. It's not just a serving of carbohydrates that is at issue, it's the combination of high calorie, low nutrient carbs with lots of fats and salts that really destroys our metabolisms. You just don't see that kind of dietary combination outside of the modern, industrialized Western diet.

    Simple truth: veggies are awesome. Animals are delicious. They both have been around for millenia and are long-standing members of normal food chains. Therefore, we should eat them. Grains and sugars.... not so much.
    1802 days ago
    This is a wonderful blog! It is interesting for me because of the kids. I want them to enjoy food but eat it in a balanced way. It is a bit easier at this age because as a parent I have a lot of control but how to teach them to keep taking care of themselves once there are making their own choices...that is the thing! I never shy away from telling them what is healthy and why...or what ingredients are in what I am making. Patrick is determined to teach them to cook for themselves so they can cook once they leave our home. Liam even wonders now how he can tell if food is done....the interest seems like a good sign. I hope we succeed. It goes the same for smoking and drinking as well...and of course drug use. All these things we have potential to abuse in that young adult stage that can really mess things up for us later!

    I really like this blog. emoticon
    1802 days ago
    I've found that as I've gotten older, I do have to watch certain foods. I don't have problems with carbs like bread, pasta or rice. Yeah, I'm one of those folks. ;)

    However, I've noticed my tummy does have a low tolerance of fried foods these days. I love fried dough (funnel cake), but it doesn't love me. Same with corn dogs. I love corn dogs. Whenever I go to a state fair, I want and have a corn dog. What happens that evening ? I get an upset tummy.

    So, maybe I should be grateful my tummy is making me think twice about some of those less than healthy food choices I might occasionally make.

    1802 days ago
    I'm the exact same way and experience the same issues with a low carb diet. When I go low carb it also sets me up for a big fall of the wagon binge later.It also scares me to think that because of dumb food decisions when I was younger that I may have to "watch" my intake for the rest of my life.
    1802 days ago
    As you've probably read on my blogs, I have a lot of trouble when it comes to grains. They're addictive - I can easily eat 2-3 bowls of cereal, even if it's not the sugar variety. It's the same thing with candy. I have a hard time putting it down. I get my carbs from fruits and veggies, and instead of white potatoes I eat sweet potatoes. This makes me feel much more satiated, and I think it has helped me control my eating without stressing about tracking. I do have pizza occasionally though, or there would be no reason for me to live anymore! ahahahha...
    1802 days ago
    There is something out there that can help, and I will blog about it. Take heart, my friends!
    1802 days ago
    Thanks for your insights... It all makes perfect sense to me. It's too bad that as we get older, we pay the price for our reckless habits when we were younger.
    1802 days ago
    Ha ha! awesome blog. I am in the same position as you. spend less time mocking the health nuts, and join them.
    1803 days ago
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