Member Comments for the Article:

The Truth About Carbohydrates

Not all Carbs are Created Equal


9/21/2009 8:45:22 AM

WOW! This is interesting for sure....I know for sure though when I eat a lot of carbs I am just plain ole worn down and have absolutly no energy at all so it's best for me to cut the carbs way down low and eat more protein, fruits and veggies...

9/3/2009 11:58:07 AM

I think a little bit of both sides here is correct. The article is against a total elimination of carbs, not the low-carb that many of us might follow. I have tried SP in the past and failed even when closely following it- yet now that I have cut my carb intake by 3/4, I have lost at least one to two pounds a week, with no side-effects to my energy levels.
I believe that yes, one should not eliminate fruits and veggies EVER! (that's why I think Atkins is so messed up!) But I also think we, as a nation, eat WAY too many carbs in the bready forms. Let us say goodbye to pasta and bread, guys, we can get all we need from veggies and fruits!
9/2/2009 8:10:55 PM

I am glad that I'm not the only one here who raised an eyebrow at this article. One thing this article fails to mention is the quality of meat that is consumed when someone goes on a low-carb diet. If we're pumping our food full of growth hormones so they fatten faster, dosing them with antibiotics, and cooping them up in compressed spaces so they can't move, and then we EAT that stuff, don't you think too much of it would be bad for us, too? It's not the meat itself, it's what's in the meat! But if you eat clean, grass-fed, the-way-nature-intended-it meat, you won't have these problems.

I went Paleo back in May. Not low carb (okay, maybe lower carb than the standard American diet), but I just cut out grains, legumes, and most dairy. I think it's interesting how this article claims that carbohydrates are the brain's primary food source. According to Loren Cordain, Ph.D., "... the turning point [in human evolution] came when our ancestors figured out that eating meat gave them much more energy." He cites meat as the reason why our guts are smaller than chimps and our brains are bigger. This coincides with the development of tools. And really, it was the subsequent ability to eat food sources with DHA (bone marrow, brains, etc.) that allowed our brains to develop. For anyone who cares, Dr. Cordain is a professor in the Heath and Science Department at Colorado State University and is a member of the American Institute of Nutrition, the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, and the American Heart Association. (Yes, the AHA). He wrote "The Paleo Diet," which is where the above information came from. Just in case anyone wanted a source! :-)

I can honestly say that I don't really miss grains, bread, pasta, etc. When I have an urge, I have some pretty darn tasty substitutes that don't weigh me down. I didn't even start the diet to lose weight -- I thought my body couldn't possibly lose any more, and yet I still lost weight eating my normal amount and substituting grains for more meat and more fruits and vegetables. I'm not even strictly low-carb, just moderately-low. The numbers on Spark for carbs are way too high. I would feel sick eating that much carb and so little meat. Honestly, this reads like a promotion for the USDA food pyramid!
9/2/2009 3:47:14 PM

Remember that serving sizes are not the serving sizes listed on packages, but a true serving of grains or starches is only 15 gms of carbohydrate and a serving of fruit is also only 15 grams of carbohydrate. That serving of cereal listed on the label may be in reality 1 1/2 to 3 servings of grains/starches! The body does like carbs for fuel and they are not nearly as calorie dense as fats are - more volume and less calories.
9/2/2009 2:49:00 PM

YCOOPER615's SparkPage
Are the serving sizes for each food group realistic?

I don't see how any healthy adult will not blow up from eating 6-11 grains/rice/etc. per day, plus 2-4 beans/legumes, 2-4 veggies, and 2-4 fruits.

I would say, from my experience with losing weight, to limit it to 3 max of those grains per day, 2 fruits max, and at least 2 veggies per day.

9/2/2009 2:38:19 PM

This is not good to promote to strongly as some people, like myself, have carbohydrate resistance and the carb unless they are very low send the blood sugar out of control and hurt my appeitate.

I can not have carb except for a salad unless I want it to create an eating binge that makes me sick.

Don't agree with the article, and it you ever read the research on low carb diets, that research not heresay, you would feel the saime.

Instead of using carbs for energy using fat for energy is much better.
9/2/2009 12:37:52 PM

DANEDA's SparkPage
I find this article to be one sided. That having been said, I also found that once I incorporated more carbs into my diet, I began to have higher energy levels and felt better. I had never consumed carbs, although I always ate a lot of vegetables. As an athlete, though, who burns 6000 to 7000 calories a week, the carbs are a necessary source of fuel. Still, I do not need as many as recommended. And I do agree that all carbs are not created equally, and that nobody ever needs simple carbs and they should be avoided.
9/2/2009 12:01:52 PM

SOON2BNYC's SparkPage
This left me more confused..especially regarding honey, it's said to be a "superfood" by other sources here it's listed under "eliminate"?!? Uhh ever frustrating..
9/2/2009 11:52:39 AM

I am disappointed in the lack of a balanced viewpoint in this article. The author is spewing the same old information that low carb dieting is bad, without taking into account the success that so many have had by following such diets both in the extreme and moderation.
The inflexible position taken is unfortunate and not helpful to so many who have benefitted from choosing an alternative eating plan.
9/2/2009 11:24:49 AM

Hmm... no references listed. Wonder why.

Honestly, after being grain-free for about 3 months, I can't imagine going back. Plenty of carbs can be gotten by eating veggies and fruits (which are full of nutrients, unlike grains, even "healthy whole grains").

The body "needs" a surprisingly low amount of carbohydrates in a day, and can get those by converting SOME dietary protein (not all of it; don't worry) if it needs to. But you should be eating enough protein that you can "sacrifice" a little if need be... .5g to 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day.

Your brain can run very well on ketones, and ketosis is only an unnatural state because of all the sugars and grains that are consumed in the typical American diet now. You can bet the Inuit people think that ketosis is quite natural (and it is... ketoacidosis isn't to be confused with ketosis... THAT is the dangerous one).

Some people experience headaches or fuzzy memory for a little while when making the switch, but that's to be expected with any withdrawal symptoms... but once it sorts out, many people experience a huge increase in mental clarity, energy, etc.

Also, about the Calcium? The more grains you eat, the more calcium you need... there is a phytoenzyme in grains that binds to calcium in your body and makes it unusable (which is why a lot of wheat products are "fortified" with extra calcium)... if you eliminate that, the calcium you eat (many fruits and veggies have it) can actually be utilized by your body properly.

This is a scary-sounding article, but anyone who was taught to read "spin" in news articles rather than just the words themselves (read between the lines) will see that this is the same "conventional wisdom" as always, recycled and spouted back, without any real studies to back it up.
9/2/2009 11:21:41 AM

PAMELAHJ's SparkPage
There is a lot of conflicting information - but my dad has been living a low carb lifestyle - to the extreme since the 70's and has not had to take any medications until the last year he is 78 so what does that tell you??
9/2/2009 11:18:14 AM

On the "dangers" of low-carb:

1. With a low-carb diet, there's MORE protein in the diet. If the body is using some of it for energy, it doesn't matter. There's still plenty for those things that protein is needed for.

2. There's nothing wrong with the type of ketosis created by a low-carb diet. There's been some confusion with ketoacidosis that occurs in diabetics, but they are not the same!

3. The headaches and other side effects generally do not last beyond the de-inflammation that occurs as excess carbohydrates are cleared from the body, which may last for a few days. I've known lots of people who have felt better than they ever have before once they have gotten past this hurdle.

4. A low-carb diet done properly actually has lots of fiber. Atkins followers are encouraged to eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, contrary to popular understanding of what Atkins is about. Even in induction, Atkins followers are encouraged to get 15 of their 20 grams of net carbs from non-starchy vegetables. If you have ever tracked carbs in non-starchy vegetables, you will know that this is a lot of vegetables, and that can add up to a lot of fiber!

5. My experience has been that I have MORE energy for exercise, etc., when I am following a low-carb diet. Grain foods make me sleepy, so I know they are better avoided, at least for me.

6. The long-term risks postulated for low-carb diets do not materialize in practice. Followers of the Paleo Diet (the no-grain, no-sugar, no-sweetener caveman diet), for instance, find relief for these very conditions.

7. Reductions of cholesterol while following a low-carb diet are long-term. Blood pressure may likewise be improved long-term.

8. If I ate 6-11 servings of grain food every day, I'd be fat for sure! The USDA was bending to the grain lobby when they set that one. In fact, the only reason grains and legumes are in our diet is because it's an economic expedient. It's cheap to feed large populations on them. They were not a regular part of the human diet until the advent of agriculture, only 10,000 years ago. Before that, humans lived on a hunter-gatherer diet of meats, vegetables, and fruits. Dairy was even more recent. Simply put, we did not evolve to eat grains, legumes, and dairy.
9/1/2009 5:27:03 PM

I was reading the article below and I dont want fellow California residents to get into trouble with their kids by feeding them honey. In our state we CAN NOT give honey to our toddlers and under ( I am not sure about above the toddler age where the cut off is). The bacteria in the honey is seriously threatening to their health! I am not sure if there are any other locations with this same warning but I learned about it since Im a california mommy.

Oh and by the way I am SO glad that i found spark and I can now have my carbs, eat them, and lose weight doing it! I thought I would just give it a try, now almost 2 months later I'm 20 lbs down and no longer depriving myself of my beloved bread products (whole wheat/grain of course). It feels SO good to have success and enjoy those foods again while practicing moderation thanks to spark support and guidance too. When I used to deprive myself I would inevitably binge on those things I was missing out on during my carb abstinence. It was canceling out much of my efforts, and now i see why I was craving them so bad -my BRAIN needed them to function properly! When I was consistently going under on fat the nutrition tracker warned me I needed it to make hormones, that explains why I would crave fatty foods at time too! My body simply NEEDED it! Its nice to discover balance thanks to spark.
Blessings 2 ya!
8/6/2009 5:08:31 PM

NAXOS9's SparkPage
Blackstrap Molasses is a good source of both iron and calcium. How do I know this? because the nutrition feedback report on spark has recommended it to me as a way to up my iron and calcium. And blackstrap molasses is on the internet-famous list of "the world's healthiest foods," as well. ( You might want to explain or clarify this discrepancy.

The section on honey is also an information-packed and fascinating read. While it doesn't contain nutrients as does blackstrap molasses, buckwheat honey has been found to help with treatment of childhood respiratory tract infections. It also, depending on its quality, can contain beneficial bacteria, promote blood sugar control, boost the immune system, and increase antioxidant compounds in the body. There's a lot more here:
oodspice&dbid=96#descr. I would still reach for honey as a sweetener over granulated sugar because of these benefits.
8/6/2009 9:25:51 AM

STRAWBERRY69's SparkPage
Low carb dieting is the only thing that has ever worked for me. Let me say, some of the things in this article are just not true, because I've been there, done that. First, I've never had more energy than when I keep my carbs low! Second, the headache that may occur is only in the first one to two days, and that's only in extreme carb deprivation after high sugar, because your body is purging the sugar, (anyone who has done cleansing in any way has experienced this). I am not a physician and cannot disprove the other things in this article scientifically, but I have read much material on both sides of the low carb debate by doctors and I believe we should read all the information before coming to conclusions as well as trying the diet itself. I will say, I don't believe low carb is for everyone, but for those of us who have been obese for a very long time and are resistant to weight loss, it is an excellent kick - off for dieting

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