But should everyone avoid a low carb diet? If so, what types of carbs should you eat?
Let's look into what types of carbs are "banned" from the paleo diet...
Now sugar can take many forms. Naturally it is found in fruit, honey, and maple syrup, etc. While your intake of these forms of sugar do need to controlled what is the real killer is processed sugar. White sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. are all forms of processed sugars and they are wreaking havoc on our health.
Humans have only been eating grains for about 10,000 years. In this time we have not evolved to the point where we can properly digestive all grains and avoid this anti-nutrient problem.
Beans and Legumes
With regards to grains, I am about 90% in agreement. We should avoid eating wheat, corn, barley, rye, and virtually all grains with the exception of white rice and maybe gluten-free oatmeal.
Why white rice? The anti-nutrients that are in grains are contained in the husk of the grain. White rice has this husk removed and is therefore a pure starch. No anti-nutrients present. Humans have been eating starches for millions of years and can easily digest them. It is only when the anti-nutrients are present that issues can arise.
Now is white rice for everyone? NO. If you are sedentary or overweight white rice should be avoid or eaten occasionally. Similar to white potatoes, white rice induces a large insulin response when eaten. Not good if you are overweight or sedentary. Only include white rice if you exercise hard 3-4 days per week and have less than 20 pounds of fat to lose.
With regards to the gluten-free oatmeal, I am currently experimenting with this one to see how I feel/perform. The oatmeal will contain some of these anti-nutrients and I know that. They do contain lower amounts than most grains and have decent amount of fiber and protein per serving. I will get back to you guys on this one in the future.
Here is my thoughts on the legumes and beans. I am not going to spend the time to properly prepare them. Plain and simple. If I eat them without being prepared properly I feel like the MetLife blimp. So I personally do not eat them. If you want to spend the time to soaked and sprout them all the power to you. I just don't like them enough to go through the effort.
Think of white potatoes as you would white rice. They are a pure starch so if you are exercising a lot and not significantly overweight include them into your diet.
Instead of talking about what carbs you should not be eating I find it easier to talk about what carbs are "safe" to eat...
Vegetables and Fruits
Yams and Sweet Potatoes
White Rice and White Potatoes
So you now know what carbs are good to eat but how much? And how much from each "category"?
Many factors come into play when determining how many carbs YOU should be eating. Your activity level, your body type, and your goals are all things that need to be considered to accurately calculate your carb intake.
For a ballpark estimate consider this...
If you have more than 20 pounds of weight to lose keep your carbs around 100 grams per day. Eat only vegetables, fruits, yams, and sweet potatoes. Avoid white rice and potatoes for the time being.
If you have less than 20 pounds to lose you can include white rice and white potatoes assuming you are exercising about 3 times per week.
If your goal is to put on muscle than your carb intake needs to be higher. Maybe somewhere around 200-250 grams per day. Obviously if your goal is muscle gain you are training and then you can, and should, be eating higher volumes of white rice and white potatoes.
A one size fits all approach to nutrition does not work. Even for the paleo diet. Everyone is a different metabolic response to food, different goals, different activity levels and these all need to be considered when designing an optimal nutrition program.
I hope this helped clear up a bit of the carb confusion?
Live Your Best Life!