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LITTLEWIND53 Posts: 17,177
7/17/14 4:54 P

Thanks Becky, it is good to know it is still there....

7/17/14 3:21 P

Regarding your carbohydrate range. You can:
1. Edit your carb range to meet your personal goal.
2. Use the "track another nutrient" and add:
Carbohydrates for (low carb dieters). This listing automatically subtracts the fiber amount from the carbohydrate amount.

I think these are the 2 choice.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

LITTLEWIND53 Posts: 17,177
7/17/14 3:09 P

I was not trying to tout LC as a way of life, but simply an option for tracking in alignment with doctor or other healthcare provider's recommendations.

Currently, members are told they are "out of range" -- either too high or too low. If they could set the goals to match their actual meal plans, they could avoid the angst of such messages..... and their doctors would get great reports to boot....

NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,737
7/17/14 2:28 P

While the word is out there, it's rare that LC can be discussed in the general forums without someone jumping in to say you need carbs because your brain will starve, or you won't have any energy. LCers know that's not true.

I know you get tired of hearing about the Inuits, but it's a demonstrated fact that people can live healthy eating virtually no carb for months at a time, and minimal carb the rest of the time. Been done, been observed, been recorded.

I had an epiphany after the last time I participated in one of these discussions. That one was a lot heavier on people insisting you need carbs than this one, and I brought up the Inuits then. Even after this evidence that people can be well and healthy while not eating carbs, people were still insisting they were necessary. It baffled me.

Then the epiphany. That you need to eat carbs is an article of faith, and faith is not susceptible to facts that disagree. OK, I can live with that. But I still feel that the LCers need to be out there making sure it gets heard by those who haven't. Otherwise, all they'll hear is "you have to eat carbs".

While some carbs travel with nutrients (vegetables, fruits, liver), the carb itself is just calories. You have to eat protein and fat to get essential nutrients that your body can't make, but if you could strip all the carbs out of the food while still getting the nutrients they travel with, you would not suffer anything but loss of calories. There are no essential carbohydrates.

LITTLEWIND53 Posts: 17,177
7/17/14 1:41 P

I don't know, but I don't think it is there anymore.

Lots of people trying low carb and get frustrated when their reports say they are under goal.... If they are using SP as a recording tool and taking the reports back to their healthcare provider, such an option would be very helpful to them.....

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
7/17/14 1:30 P

Oh ok. Sorry.

I wonder why they took it off?

LITTLEWIND53 Posts: 17,177
7/17/14 1:26 P

I know you can change most goals, and include other nutrients..... But read the comment..... if you go to that page you don't see the option for LOW CARB ranges anymore....

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
7/17/14 1:07 P

Yes. At the bottom of your Tracker - click "Edit Nutrition Goals" you can change your goals, and add in other things like sodium, etc.

LITTLEWIND53 Posts: 17,177
7/17/14 12:48 P

A few years ago, SP did have an option to set nutritional goals to lower carb users. I was able to set my carb goal to 50 gm/day.

But then I have never been able to figure out how to use the tracker. I used to spend hours every day trying to figure out y what I then forgot by the next day, so it makes "no-never-mind" to me now.... Paper works just as good for me.....

Does Spark not have that option in the nutritional goals anymore? Even if Spark set a minimum of say 50 or 100 gms, if they are recording for the benefit of their doctor or other healthcare provider, is it not better to have a report they can take to them that does not scream they are below goal for that category?

Just curious as there seems to be so much talk about low carbing lately....

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/17/14 9:02 A

I am just discussing diet in general Becky. These are just my thoughts, not directed towards any person, and certainly not a recommendation. I understand the limitations of the site, and while I think nutrition is interesting, I am not trying to " spread the word ". Most people have no desire to do low carb, and my only real concern is my own health. Still, there is a difference between answering a direct question, such as how do I add back in healthy carbs, which I did, focusing on quality of carbs, not quantity, and discussing nutrition in general, which I also did, talking to JERF.

Most threads are 50/50 between responding to the OP, and discussing general ideas, and I try to let people know when I am answering a query, and when I am just thinking out loud. One is fact to the best of my knowledge, and the other is just opinion, or ideas based on what I have experienced. I didn't say that my opinion was right, I was just wondering out loud.

I still doubt that most doctors offer 16 options for their patient to lose weight though. As a dietitian, you can be more selective based on individual cases, and needs, but I doubt that many do anything but offer the same option SP uses as their base for diet.

Maybe this has more to do with the idea that they know exactly how to do it, whereas with low carb, we are still working out the details. Not sure about the other 14 diets though. My guess is there are other good diets, like vegan/vegetarian, but doctors rarely suggest that either.

Anyways, I am rambling, so I will just say that if someone decides to eat on one of the other 15 accepted plans, it is probably best to see a registered dietitian, because your doctor is usually not very good with nutrition. I have a cardiologist for my heart, a podiatrist for my feet, and a opthomologist for my eyes ( both for diabetes ), so why not see a professional for diet, which helps all health concerns.

7/17/14 8:08 A

In a recent issue of Weight Management Matters, there was a listing of 16 weight loss approaches (low carb included) that have been shown to be beneficially in losing weight. Physicians and Registered Dietitians are very much aware of the obesity epidemic, the numerous health risks of obesity and the benefits of weight loss. This would include cardiology, dermatology, oncology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, etc. So I am sure your cardiologist is thrilled (as is sparkpeople) with your health improvement---no matter what approach you took.

There is no longer any need to feel like you are "not being heard". Low carb weight loss diets work as do the other approaches---because it places the individual in a calorie deficit. There is no need to feel that you must "get the word out". This is already known and accepted. It is in the research literature.

And guess what, I have used a lower carb weight loss approach with some of my clients. I can do this safely because I have their medical history. I am coordinating efforts with their doctor. We are able to get labs run regularly, adjust medications, etc. "None" of this criteria is available at Sparkpeople. This is a general weight loss site. Therefore we follow those nutrition parameters as such; and we use the nutrition ranges set forth by the National Institutes of Health. This keeps our site safe for our 15 million members. While a low carb approach my be safely done for a person with a history or heart disease, cancer, diabetes, wound issues, gallbladder problems, pancreatitis, etc----this needs to occur along with close medical/dietitian monitoring and follow-up. This is something that "you" nor this site can do. I hope that you understand your limitations and our limitations. Otherwise you could easily be putting sparkpeople members at risk. Because of your complicated medical history, I can tell you have on-going follow up with your medical team (and that is GREAT!); but you can not assume this is happening with every member on this site.

So in a nutshell, go spread the word:
Becky, the dietitian at Sparkpeople is well aware of the research regarding the benefits of numerous weight loss approaches, including low-carb. In fact, she has even used it with some of her clients.
However, she is also well aware of the dangers of weight loss approaches that limit specific food groups and therefore implements nutrition guidelines at Sparkpeople to keep the 15 million member community as safe as possible. And since safety is a #1 priority with sparkpeople, members are asked to do the same. Safety First!

Your SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 7/17/2014 (08:09)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/17/14 5:38 A

I think it makes plenty of sense ( the ideas ), however I disagree with the idea that too much fat causes disease. I already have CHF, and by upping my fat intake to 50-60%, my heart health has actually improved according to my cardiologist, and all the testing I have done.

Since my protein stays at 20-30 %, my carbs were what was traded for fat, and I think this is where the argument lies. Atkins for example said the problem was combining carbs and fat, and I think he may have been close. I read about how we can burn fat, OR carbs, and how they are fuel for the body, and while it may sound simplistic, it seems that you can have X amount of fuel for your body, whether fat or carbs, but when you eat high fat, high carb foods, you consume too much fuel, and can't burn it off. This excess causes the weight gain and disease.

That idea, which is not proven, just MY OPINION, explains things a lot better than low carb or low fat being the only way. It explains why some people thrive on both diets, and why a high protein diet seems to work for some, even if I just couldn't eat that much protein. If a person eats over 40 % protein, then they will only be able to eat 60 % fat/carbs.

Is it not likely that our body is capable of using any combo of the 2 fuels, at any ratio, as long as we don't go over a certain amount of fuel?

It also explains our obesity epidemic. While we have been focusing on cutting fat, and adding carbs, no one noticed that most of the foods eaten on the S.A.D. may be either high carb, or high fat, but most are low protein. We may have a cheeseburger, which has protein, but also carbs/fat, but we consume it with fries and a milkshake, and while the milkshake has some protein, it is minimal, and the rest, along with the fries is mostly fat/carbs.

How much of our diet is just fat and carbs .. all those sweets, and liquid calories, which push that protein level down to such a small percentage of our calories, that 80 % or higher comes as fuel, and we can't burn it off.

Most of the arguments come from the knowledge that people possess. Low carbers can see it working, and get angry when told that something that has changed their lives is dangerous, but when they malign the lower fat diet ( not S.A.D. ), there is the 30 % who do it correctly, and are enjoying carbs, and running a half marathon on Saturday ( maybe next to a low carber ), and also wonders why anyone thinks her diet is " bad ".

So maybe someone can eat high fat/low carb, and another can eat high carb/low fat, and both can thrive, whereas someone who eats a high fat/ high carb diet is really the ones in danger, and the problem is, that is exactly what most people are consuming on the S.A.D.

Maybe the problem is most people aren't doing low fat, OR low carb. What do you think?

7/16/14 8:06 P

I have read this chapter; in fact I have read the entire book.
The pages that you will find most interesting are 277-289.

And yes, you will see a great deal of info on how the body can revert to other processes to "protect" the brain when carb intake is low. Gluconeogensis as many of you already know.
The brain is pretty important so the body has many pathways of protection. You will see that the body can survive on a very low carb, even no carb amount. (Don't stop reading here---please continue on for the rest of the story!!)

So to gather a complete understanding of how these ranges came to must then read the chapters on protein and fat. These chapters also evaluate research on how to meet need and how to "prevent disease". When fat or protein is too low or too high---greater disease risks occur. So protein and fat ranges are established to meet need and prevent disease. So once this amount is determined---where do the rest of needed calories come from??? They must come from carbohydrate. If you push protein too high or too low---there is health risk. Push fat intake too high or too low---there is health risk. Carbs then are the other calorie providing nutrient to turn to. So basically you can live without carbs. But the concern is that it raises your protein and/or fat intake too high which can bring about a risk for other damaging diseases. These ranges are about general overall health and nutrition. Promoting a diet that meets needs and prevent disease.

Hope this makes sense.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,737
7/16/14 5:25 P

Lot of verbiage there, Becky. I assume you've read it, perhaps you could point out where it tells the us the consequences of eating no more than 50 g of carb in a day?

7/16/14 5:04 P

In the medical world a "recommendation" is based on research evidence to promote health and well being. Recommendations are available for protein, carbs, fat and every vitamin and mineral. It is for good health and disease prevention. Everyone has a choice not to follow a science based recommendation---but then you would be increasing your health risks as compared to the research.

Perhaps this link will take you to the exact chapter on carbs, so you can see what the Dietary Reference Intake is for this nutrient.

Of course as more research is available, these recommendations can change. This is usually evaluated about every 5-10 years. There has been recent changes in vitamin D recommendations for example.


Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 7/16/2014 (17:06)
NAYPOOIE Posts: 11,737
7/16/14 3:17 P

Becky said that level of carb is "recommended". She did not say that you need to eat that much for good health.

7/16/14 9:13 A

I don't think the OP wanted to go low carb either, RUSSELL.

I was just seeking clarification from the RD Becky as her post was unclear.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/16/14 8:39 A

Hopefully this link is legitimate enough to pass scrutiny. I don't think gluconeogenesis is questioned, just not desired by most people.

I have heard that our body produces 60-80 grams of glucose on its own, since we need it for vital body functions. This is why low carbers suffer no ill side effects ( only 150 years of documented low carb, so the jury is still out on long term health implications ).

Still, I do not think the OP was hoping to be low carb. She just tends to end up there, and is looking for more healthy carbs. At 45% carbs on a 1500 calorie diet, that would be about 170 grams a day, so at 100 grams a day, that would only require 70 grams more, which isn't that hard to do.

I don't think Becky was saying 100 grams a day is harmful, just stating what the recommendations are to guide the OP.

7/16/14 8:08 A

Becky I understand that SP has a recommended carbohydrate intake of 45-65% of daily calories, however is it not also accurate that the body can use the process called gluconeogenesis to provide adequate sugar to fuel the body?

I don't want to speak for her but I'm pretty sure that's what Michelle was referring to.

So a person could go a little lower in carbohydrates and not suffer ill health effects, or am I incorrect?


"Gluconeogenesis, the production of glucose from a noncarbohydrate source (amino acids or glycerol), can occur during fasting (or in the absence of dietary carbohydrate), thus allowing the liver to continue to release glucose to maintain adequate blood glucose concentrations."

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 7/16/2014 (08:10)
7/16/14 7:41 A

Yes there is a carbohydrate intake recommendation.
It is for all adults.
It is 45-65% of one's calories
The recommendation is also the one we use at SP in creating our ranges
Here is the link to the entire report on calorie distribution for protein, fat and carbs:>
Your SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,229)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,780
7/16/14 4:56 A

OP, no, there is no minimum carb requirement for an adult without some sort of major underlying health concern. The body requires adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. All vitamins and minerals (except for b12) can be easily obtained from veggies.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
7/15/14 8:45 P

No reason why you can't just eat 10 servings of vegetables, and 3-4 servings of fruit. Plus you have beans, nuts, seeds, dairy/cheese ( for calcium 2-4 ozs a day ).

I do very well eating 40-60 grams a day of carbohydrate, but that is a choice I have made. Most carbohydrates are wonderful foods, but may affect some of us a certain way. Based on the hundreds of options available if you want to eat healthy carbs, the biggest problem many face is feeling too full. It is easy to stock up on carbs, when it is milkshakes, cereal, and bread. A lot harder to get 200 grams from veggies/fruit.

Starchy veggies, and beans, as well as some dairy, like yogurt can up your carbs if you feel the need, or desire to eat more of them.

I don't think it is crucial to eat X amount of carbs just because you think it is healthier, but if you want to, there are plenty of healthy carbs available to help you accomplish it. When I started low carb, I focused on what I was cutting.. the " bad ". When we stop and look at what we can eat .. the " good ", the variety is astounding. Take any segment of the diet.. fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds etc, and we eat less than 10 % of the variety available to us. Go look at all the options ( 100's ), and I am sure you will find enough carbs to satisfy you.. healthy ones... whether that comes to 50 grams a day, or 300 grams a day.

I find it harder to limit my consumption of carbs, since there are SO many healthy ones. Make yourself a list, and you will realize how much there is. Dozens of leafy greens, berries, melons, other fruit, seeds, nuts, beans, cheeses, vegetables.You can still eat 20 servings of carbs, just eat most of them from these foods, and not from ice cream, pizza, pop, and french fries so often.

SATTVA Posts: 874
7/15/14 1:19 A

Yes, the body tells us what it needs... if you don't like cereal, then you can add whole grains, grain-based soups, more starchy vegetables if you don't feel like you are getting enough carbs.

SHOTOKIDO SparkPoints: (101,572)
Fitness Minutes: (22,834)
Posts: 3,832
7/14/14 11:56 P

Peas and beans add carbs, but in a better way.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/14/14 8:09 P

There is nothing wrong with consuming 90-100 carbs/day. I don't see what the benefit would be to adding more if you don't want to eat differently than you are now.

BHENDRICK2 Posts: 1,210
7/14/14 6:18 P


KASTRA Posts: 369
7/14/14 6:03 P

Here's a second/fourth/etc. to doing what makes you feel right. If you're getting all your fruits and veggies, getting enough fiber, calcium, etc., and you feel alright...lower carb might be fine for you. Like Anarie, I'm a carby girl - I'm usually around 60% (sometimes as high as 80%, sometimes as low as 50%) of my daily calories from carbs like baked potato, fruits, dairy, and some bread or rice. But, if all your nutrients are where they need to be, you do not feel lethargic, and your sleep is sound, there's no need to stress or force it.

ANARIE Posts: 13,192
7/14/14 3:19 P

If you're getting enough fiber (and calcium, as Becky pointed out,) then 100 grams of carbs a day probably isn't too little. We don't particularly need carbs themselves; we need the fiber and vitamins and minerals and flavonoids that are usually found in high-carb foods. If you're getting those things and you're not getting so much protein or saturated fat that you're at risk of health issues from them, then I wouldn't worry if you're just a hair below your recommended range.

By the way, this is coming from someone who gets 65%-70% of her calories from carbs. That's what works for me, because it lets me eat the foods I prefer while still controlling calories. If eating less carbohydrate and more protein and fat lets you eat the foods you prefer while still controlling calories, then go for it. You have to like what you're eating, or you won't stick with it long enough to lose the weight you need to lose.

7/14/14 1:40 P

I also do well on a lower carb diet.

I get 90% of my carbs from vegetables and fruit.

It is a very nutrient dense way to eat.

7/14/14 1:36 P

Are you getting your 1000 mg of calcium daily?
Might you need to add 1-2 servings of lowfat milk or yogurt?

Your SP Registered Dietitian

ANGELCITYGAL SparkPoints: (38,869)
Fitness Minutes: (20,298)
Posts: 1,724
7/14/14 1:17 P

Agreeing with Eelpie. That's how I eat, too.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
7/14/14 1:07 P

Well, I think it is. People can do quite well on "low" carb or "lower" carb diets.

It depends on the individual, and how they feel, and whether or not they can get enough nutrients in their diet, when eating lower carb.

I eat about 100-120 carbs a day right now. I lost my weight eating about 100 a day. I stuck with eating low GI foods, and my diet was very rich in veggies and good fats.

I had other great things come about from eating that way, clearer skin - longer, stronger healthier hair and nails.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
7/14/14 1:02 P

Sweet potato, potato (including the skin), corn and other starchy veggies like corn on the cob are also considered to be healthy options. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A.

7/14/14 12:57 P

what about lentils, beans, brown rice, oatmeal, etc? also wheatberries, bulgur, barley.
Also sweet potatoes, white potatoes, whole wheat pasta....

Edited by: LILSPARKGIRL at: 7/14/2014 (13:00)
CJGODESS101 SparkPoints: (30,781)
Fitness Minutes: (9,224)
Posts: 611
7/14/14 12:49 P

Look at some of the healthier grains, wheat breads/pastas, Quinoa, rice, or rice cakes as a snack. Oatmeal for breakfast with some fruit will work as well.

JAB2010 SparkPoints: (44,968)
Fitness Minutes: (12,804)
Posts: 215
7/14/14 12:47 P

I've been tracking everything I eat for a few weeks. My problem is that most days I do not get enough carbohydrates. I eat 3 - 4 servings of fruit and 3 - 5 serving of veggies everyday. Most days I eat about 90 - 100 grams of CARBS. The only time I hit my range is when I'm over my calorie range for the day.

I don't like cereal and don't like to eat bread every day. Is it okay to eat too few carbohydrates ??

Edited by: JAB2010 at: 7/14/2014 (12:49)
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