Here is one of my favorite posts by Mark Sisson on the carbohydrate curve. Take a look at it, it will help you tremendously throughout this challenge.
Yesterday, low-carb blogger Dr. Michael Eades (he of Protein Power) posted a message from his friend and fellow low-carb guru Richard Feinman as sort of a call-to-action in public policy-making for upcoming 2010 USDA guidelines. Dr. Eades and Dr. Feinman have suggested that we ought to quickly find a way to help the USDA arrive at a sensible recommendation for carbohydrate consumption. Feinman asked:
“how can the benefits of carbohydrate restriction that you have experienced personally or in your immediate environment be translated into reasonable recommendations that the USDA could put out?”
In conjunction with my forthcoming book “The Primal Blueprint”, I have been working on an easy-to-understand explanation of how carbohydrates impact the human body and the degree to which we need them (or not) in our diet. I have also developed a chart (not the one above) that is intended to assist those who want to go “Primal” in visualizing the impact of carbs consumed within certain ranges. I was going to hold off on releasing this information until my book is published, but decided to introduce it here in response to Dr. Eades’ post. Since the choice of how many and what types of carbs in one’s diet depends on the context of one’s life (current weight, disease condition, activity levels, etc), I see carb intake as a “curve” ranging from “allowable” to “desirable” to “unhealthy”.
The following descriptions illustrate how carbohydrates impact the human body and the degree to which we need them, or not, in our diet. The ranges represent daily averages and are subject to variables like age, current height and weight and particularly training volume. For example, a heavy, active person can be successful at a higher number than a light, moderately active person. In particular, hard training endurance athletes will experience a greater need for carbs and can adjust their personal curve accordingly. This is a topic I address further in the book (e.g. – experimenting with adding 100g of carbs per hour of training per day), on MarksDailyApple.com and in a future “primal” book dedicated to endurance athletes. Here then is my “Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve.”
300 or more grams/day – Danger Zone!
Easy to reach with the “normal” American diet (cereals, pasta, rice, bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweets, desserts). High risk of excess fat storage, inflammation, increased disease markers including Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes. Sharp reduction of grains and other processed carbs is critical unless you are on the “chronic cardio” treadmill (which has its own major drawbacks).
150-300 grams/day – Steady, Insidious Weight Gain
Continued higher insulin-stimulating effect prevents efficient fat burning and contributes to widespread chronic disease conditions. This range – irresponsibly recommended by the USDA and other diet authorities – can lead to the statistical US average gain of 1.5 pounds of fat per year for forty years.
100-150 grams/day – Primal Blueprint Maintenance Range
This range based on body weight and activity level. When combined with Primal exercises, allows for genetically optimal fat burning and muscle development. Range derived from Grok’s (ancestors’) example of enjoying abundant vegetables and fruits and avoiding grains and sugars.
50-100 grams/day – Primal Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss
Minimizes insulin production and ramps up fat metabolism. By meeting average daily protein requirements (.7 – 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight formula), eating nutritious vegetables and fruits (easy to stay in 50-100 gram range, even with generous servings), and staying satisfied with delicious high fat foods (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week and then keep it off forever by eating in the maintenance range.
0-50 grams/day – Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Burning
Acceptable for a day or two of Intermittent Fasting towards aggressive weight loss efforts, provided adequate protein, fat and supplements are consumed otherwise. May be ideal for many diabetics. Not necessarily recommended as a long-term practice for otherwise healthy people due to resultant deprivation of high nutrient value vegetables and fruits.
Recipe of the Day
Sweet and salty. Few combinations of words can simultaneously strike both fear and pleasure. On one hand, a sweet/salty combination can result in amazing flavor, like a savoryApple Stuffed Chicken or Pork Loin with Mango Salsa. On the other hand, the food industry caught on long ago that sweet and salty was an addictive combination and proceeded to load snack foods with obscene amounts of salt and sugar.
The great thing about making your own snack food at home is that you control what goes into it. You can have a little sweet and a little salty together without any fear of sending your healthy diet into a nosedive. Sara Hatch adds a teaspoon of sea salt and 1/4 cup of raw honey to her Sweet and Salty Primal Trail Mix (Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook contest submission) to give it tons of flavor and a sticky, clumpy texture similar to granola. When you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tailor it to your own sweet/salty preference. Add a little more or less salt and cut back on the honey if you like, or, for that matter don’t add any – the dried fruit will add plenty of sweetness for some. However you make it, this trail mix is still a fresher, healthier option than most store-bought versions.
The combination of nuts and seeds brings plenty of healthy protein and fat to this snack mix. You can toss the nuts and seeds together raw, but Sara’s touch of baking them briefly in the oven give the nuts a rich, toasted flavor and slight crunch that’s hard to beat. This is a perfect non-perishable snack to take hiking or camping (it is, after all, trail mix) or, keep an airtight container of Sara’s trail mix in your car or at work for snacking during the day.
Sweet and Salty Primal Trail Mix