When people mention they want to go low carb, or eat “no carbs” or become paleo or primal or ketogenic… I first want to back them up and ask “Do you know all the sources carbs come from? Do you know the carb counts associated with each one of these dietary principles?”
What I typically discover is most people do NOT understand carbohydrate counts or their sources, and the many ways we consume carbohydrates.
Know. Your. Carbs.
ARE YOU AWARE of how many carbohydrates you are consuming in a day? I am never an advocate of obsessively tracking food, but I want you to know about the foods you are eating. Carbs can be found in: commercially prepared foods, alcoholic drinks, “healthy” foods, fruits, dairy, vegetables, condiments… the list goes on! The number of carbs you are consuming adds up. I often hear the expression “I cut carbs” used when people have quit consuming bread and pasta. The truth is, if you have eliminated breads and pastas but are now consuming high-starchy fruits, vegetables and legumes, you might not have cut carbs at all.
Did you know that the average American consumes around 200-300 grams of carbohydrates every single day?
I personally consider low-carb to be around 50g/day, moderate carb to be around 100g/day and high carb to be around 150g/day. For most woman aged 35+ we can safely stay in the 50-100g range.
I’ve broken down the carb count on some popular food product
I do want to take a moment to mention that I am not trying to scare you with these numbers. These are not necessarily “bad” amounts, carbohydrates are not the devil. I am not anti-carb. I want to help you understand carbohydrate counts and make you aware of what you put in your body. It is important to be mindful of portion size and pair higher carb days with days you are increasing physical activity or doing strength training. Matter of fact, I have another blog post all about carb cycling, and I would love for you to read that article. Utilizing carb cycling is one way to enjoy carbs and leverage them to your greatest potential.
Please keep this in mind… just because something may be lower in carbs (ahem…TRULY fans…) be mindful of its ingredients. Alcohol is processed very differently in our stomachs and those 2 grams may not be an accurate description of the actual impact of this drink to your body. Not all carbs are created equal.
What do you think after reading this? Are you eating more or less carbohydrates than you thought? Please leave a comment, we would love to hear from you.