Carbs: My Take on Carbohydrate Intake

Fats used to be evil, now they have been justly rehabilitated.

In the U.S., polarization is the norm. Carbs are no exception.

Some people claim that the quality does not matter as long as you watch your calories. In other words, a blender drink of Coca Cola, leftover pizza and a few Cadbury’s Turkish Delight is fine, as long as it fits your macros. On the other pole, carbs that were not around in the paleolithic era are downright evil. Those are obviously very different opinions, here is my take on carbs

#1- You Need to Deserve your Carbs.

Your levels of muscle mass, volume and intensity of training, percentage of body fat and insulin sensitivity will determine how many grams of carbs you can afford. Some people obviously need to restrict their carbs to 10 licks of a dried prune every six months.

#2- Food Intolerance

Some people can get away with grains, some should stay away from them. A high quality food intolerance panel will help determine that.

#3- Carbs can be your friend or your enemy.

You should base your carb consumption  on which effect you want to accomplish on your neurotransmitters and hormones. You should consider circadian cycles as well. For example, for most people, it is nearly impossible to fall asleep with low serotonin levels from a carb restricted diet.

#4- Silent Inflammation

Some people can get lean on donuts and chocolate milk, true. They have skinfolds as thin as cellophane paper. However, when you look at their blood work, it’s not impressive. For example, the silent levels of inflammation are staggering. Once the damage becomes symptomatic, it is too late.

#5- Athletes & Bodybuilders

The goal of putting on large amounts of muscle mass is not always achievable with a strict Paleo regimen. For example, rice oligodextrins are certainly not paleo. And yet, they have been instrumental in the development of the athletes I have coached. As you may know, cyclists, rowers, speed skaters, and bodybuilders use them in large quantities to restore glycogen stores rapidly. Most of the studies on glycogen replenishment have no practical value as the training protocols are so wimpy that only very low levels of carbs are necessary to replenish energy stores.

#6- Poor Quality Carbs & Nutrient Depletion

Low quality carbs are a drain on your nutrient reserves. Zinc, manganese, magnesium, thiamine, to name a few, take a beating from poor quality carbohydrate intakes.

#7- Castrating Agent

Very high intakes of refined sugars have been shown to be suppressive to androgen production. Which of course, impedes your recovery ability.

Coach Charles R. Poliquin