Carbohydrates are in many foods we eat and are classified into sugars and starches. When I started on this low carb way of life I found it a bit confusing. What level of carbohydrate was needed?
There are no essential carbohydrates
so what was to stop me choosing zero? You don’t you need carbs for energy( they are not necessary as your body can make glucose) so why do dietitians advise them? Is the advice itself just a habit?
People eat a lot of carbohydrate containing foods like bread, cakes, cereal, fruit and vegetables, and regard them as healthy in moderation, but as you know they are habit forming.
I was 50 years of age but I still found it hard to believe that staple everyday foods like this could harm me in any way.
It was my sister’s and, separately, a patient’s, marvelous recovery from a rare arthritic disorder that set me thinking. Why would they get so much better just by cutting out the starches from their food? The theory is to do with bacteria in the gut feeding off starches and causing an overgrowth of a bug called klebsiella, which then triggers a reaction whereby the body starts to attack itself. The particular diet they used is called the London AS diet.
Then Dr David Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain set me thinking about whether sugars and starches could lead to diabetes, dementia and other chronic inflammatory conditions. This could happen through the insulin hormone getting too high, too often, causing weight to go up and causing Type 2 diabetes.
Then I had the surprise of seeing the zerocarbers on www.zerocarbzen.com, www.myzerocarblife.com and the Principia Carnivora Facebook group. One of these zerocarbers was a retired doctor who wrote to me from the USA and told me about his zerocarb journey- and very well he did too. Obesity and hypertension resolved and off all his medication. Many of these people had morbid obesity and through a zerocarb lifestyle became a normal weight and were able to stop all their medication.
The Masai and the Inuit people were zero carbers and while many dietitians say that no one can stick to zero carb diets, I am told that 10-20k people in the USA do exactly that today.
How can you decide? It starts with what you want to achieve and what you like to eat.
Would you like to write down your goals?
People say things like…
Running about with the grandchildren
Looking good for a son’s wedding
Resolution of type 2 diabetes
Coming off drugs
I am a keen exerciser and feel I need to eat some carbs. If so what is the minimum you can get away with?
Are you veggie or vegan? That makes it impossible to get down to zero without nutrient deficiencies, so I often suggest cutting out sugars and following recipes on www.authoritynutrition.com or www.dietdoctor.com
Decide how low you want to go and whether you reduce them gradually or all of a sudden. My plan, which came from Dr Perlmutter is flexible, and you could do it with or without any grains, sweet fruit, or starchy vegetables if you wanted quicker results.
If you want to reduce your risk of diabetes and dementia, Dr Perlmutter suggests 30g a day is about right. I got too thin after 4 months on this so decided to raise it a little but I still eat under 50g a day.
Butter Bob Briggs and Jeff Cyr eat the lowest level they need to feel well, keep their weight down,their blood glucose normal and keep them off medication.
Once you achieve your goal you can decide if your want to raise your carb level a little and see if that still works for you.