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It's Not Carbs, It's You.

Updated: Feb 9, 2021


Be honest, you've at least considered going low-carb if you haven't been actively avoiding the main scapegoat of the current obesity epidemic, haven't you? From Banting to Atkins to South Beach and Keto, carbs have been hated on since the 19th century. That's long-lasting hate for something that constitutes the most significant portion of most of the world's diet.


Where does the fear come from?


Well, to answer that, we'll have to look at the pancreas. When you eat carbohydrates, you're happier, wait... that's not scientific. True, but not scientific. Anyhow, when you eat carbs, your body breaks down the carbs into a sugar called glucose. I'd say the term you're acquainted with is blood sugar. With glucose and some fatty acids, our bodies are able to sustain our very excellent existence.

So, you destroy some pasta, and your pancreas starts hurling a hormone called insulin into your system. Insulin escorts the glucose into our muscles for use in lifting heavy things (you are lifting, right?), and then to our liver for that extra burst we may need later. Our muscles store glucose as glycogen but combined, they only hold about 400-600 grams combined. So, if you're not using your muscles, insulin takes glucose and amino acids on down the line to your fat cells to be converted to triglycerides and are stored as fat.

The problem comes when you continue to overload your body with glucose until your cells no longer listen to insulin. They no longer let in the glucose, and it has to go somewhere, so new fat cells are created. Insulin is still pumping through your body since your pancreas had to release even more of the stuff to get your body to open the cell gates. Know what else insulin does? It makes you hungry. So, you eat again. More insulin is released. You're still hungry... Sound familiar? It's a nasty cycle with which I am well acquainted.


So, yes, carbs can make you gain weight. Also, low-carb diets are proven to help drop weight in those that stick with them. So, why am I saying it's you and not the carbs? Because... it is! The Standard American Diet (SAD) is heavy in the refined starchy carbs that cause spikes in our glucose levels—refined, bleached, sugar-loaded goodness in every bite. Well, pleasant to your tastebuds and built-in hormone response system. Calorie-dense! Release the dopamine! So, see, it IS you! However, carbs aren't exactly innocent; they're just misunderstood. Let's take a look!

What happened to me on carbs.

Let's run through my typical eating in a day:

8AM:

2 Cups of black coffee

Overnight Date Oats

Dave's Rockin' Grain English Muffin

2 tbsp NuttZo spread


11AM:

Two scoops Green Beret pea protein

One scoop of Creatine Carnage


12N:

2 Cups Black Bean and Quinoa Red Curry Chili

Low Carb Almond Flour Flatbread (tastes excellent with the chili!)


2PM:

Zapp's Voodoo Heat Chips (vending bag)

7PM:

2 Cups Vegan Cilantro Cream Pasta


9PM:

Annie's Strawberry Patch Gummy Pack

The breakdown looks something like this:


Now, I missed my macros (no biggie), and this isn't my daily menu year-round. However, the percentages you see in my goal column are always the same. Majority: Carbs! So, if they make you fat, and I've been eating a majority of carbs, then it goes to reason (in the minds of low-carb gurus) I should be pretty chonky!


January 2020-June 2020. I'm nowhere near my goal, but I'm much closer than I was! So, uh, pasta, does a body good?


Not really, a high carb diet just takes up more room in your belly! In other words, if you wanted to take down 576 calories of beef (1/2 pound), then you probably could. However, what bout 2 cups of oats, or 20ish cups of broccoli, which is the same calorie count? That would nearly make you sick! Like I've said before, a calorie doesn't equal a calorie, and the same is true for carbs. Beans and sugar... both carbs. However, your body reacts WILDLY different once you consume either! Beans are complex carbohydrates of a WHOLE FOOD, while refined sugar is straight smack to your system!

So, if you're picky about the carbs you eat (even indulging in some candy every now and again), your body won't respond the same as dumping a bunch of empty carbs into it! Just steer clear of sodas, no matter what (diet or otherwise)!


Is watching what carbs you eat really all it takes?


Well, sort of. Eating whole foods (not processed or foods minimally processed containing four secondary ingredients or less) is half the battle, if not more. However, that macro count pictured above is a 3,000kcal a day way of eating. So is the progress pic, though. I didn't get there by just watching what I ate; I had to work.


To start, it was three days a week in the gym. Then, COVID decided gyms needed to close. So, I got inventive at home with bodyweight stuff and increased workouts to five days a week. The carbs fueled my HIIT training, and I found I could do more and more each week as I raised my caloric intake experimentally. We burn carbs for fuel, and exercise turns that energy into a better body for you! Now, I'm back in the gym, piling on muscle, shaving off body fat percentage, and lifting heavier than ever! I'm even trying to look into the offputting art of running... which 3 miles almost killed me yesterday. I will engage in pitched battle again this weekend after a healthy dose of carbs!


Bottom line.


Follow the diet that fits your life the best! Especially if you are diabetic, or pre-diabetic. A diet that you can sustain. However, stop hating on carbs just because you hear how evil they are. Like any fat or protein, carbs have their good, bad, and ugly! Eat the right carbs (check out this info on the glycemic index), exercise, and put those carbs to work for a better you, and slurp your veggie-and-bean-loaded whole wheat (or gluten-free, if you're so stricken) spaghetti with a guilt-free smile!

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