1

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Carbs: Both a problem and a solution?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 25, 2011 at 7:53 AM

I'm a bit confused. It seems that carbs are generally avoided by many in the paleo community because of X,Y,Z reasons. But often there's a case of someone with a certain condition and the recommendation is to increase carb intake.

If carbs are non-essential for health in general, why is this the case? I feel like it is an indirect admission that an ailing body requires carbohydrates, and thus implies the possibility for a "carb deficiency." What is it about carbs that can help heal a stressed body that cannot be healed by some other means?

166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:11 AM

I'm curious- what's the evidence that the brain and other organs prefer ketones to glucose? I have heard of such evidence but can't recall any studies. Also, it depends on what kind of illness/ how weak the person is. The liver purifies the blood and handles hormones so if it's based on that then it might be easier to make the load on the liver easier first...?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 25, 2011
at 01:28 PM

Just a recap of my comment above: In some people, the underlying causes of metabolic syndrome don't go away, even as the fat disappears. Those people (I'm one) may never be able to eat carbohydrate without putting weight back on.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 25, 2011
at 01:25 PM

My only amendment to that, Dave, would be that even people who had been obese, who become fit, may need to avoid carbs. I'm very close to my optimal weight now, but if I stray back into tubers and fruits, the weight comes back very quickly. So yeah, if you've *always* been fit, then fruits and tubers aren't a problem.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 25, 2011
at 12:46 PM

nice Dave. I agree. If youre fat dont eat many carbs. If not, eat them. How about this: the fitter you are the more carbs you can eat, the fatter you are the less.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 25, 2011
at 12:00 PM

The only reasons for avoiding carbs are: 1. You are diabetic 2. A ketogenic diet may be therapuetic for a brain disorder (ADHD/Epilepsy/Alzheimer's et al) 3. You are obese/metabolic syndrome and need to lose a lot of weight. Tubers and fruit are not the problem, it's the NAD's that got us here that sometimes require an extreme overcorrection.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:38 AM

It's a good answer, I think you're on the right track that it is easier for the body to use starches for glucose than convert protein via gluconeogenesis - for the small about of glucose a fat adapted person may need. However when the body is in ketosis and the liver is producing keytones, these are the preferred fuel by most of the brain and many organs including the heart. Wouldn't that be a better state to be in if you're ailing? Thoughts?

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3 Answers

5
166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on May 25, 2011
at 08:10 AM

Just my two cents is that... carbohydrates are more easily digested than proteins. The catalyst amylase is in the saliva which means they start to break down in the mouth, then the stomach, and finally in the intestines. They deliver quick "energy" to the blood. Proteins are slightly harder to break down into amino acids, and fat (apart from coconut oil) requires bile to be broken down to be used for energy.

When someone is tired, sick, weak, stressed, etc, one of the first systems to break down is their digestive system. That usually means that their stomach acid is decreased, meaning that digestive proteins is harder work, while their liver is overworked and stressed out, meaning that it might not be releasing/making bile so efficiently. I may be wrong but it seems that it takes extra work for the liver to make fats into glycogen for energy (when it CAN do that, it does, meaning that carbs are not necessarily needed).

I would say that even when people are fat-adapted the way carbohydrate is processed by the body means that it's often the best thing to give to someone who is ailing, rather than pushing their digestive system- and body- to work harder.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:38 AM

It's a good answer, I think you're on the right track that it is easier for the body to use starches for glucose than convert protein via gluconeogenesis - for the small about of glucose a fat adapted person may need. However when the body is in ketosis and the liver is producing keytones, these are the preferred fuel by most of the brain and many organs including the heart. Wouldn't that be a better state to be in if you're ailing? Thoughts?

166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:11 AM

I'm curious- what's the evidence that the brain and other organs prefer ketones to glucose? I have heard of such evidence but can't recall any studies. Also, it depends on what kind of illness/ how weak the person is. The liver purifies the blood and handles hormones so if it's based on that then it might be easier to make the load on the liver easier first...?

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 25, 2011
at 12:51 PM

Whether carbohydrate can be tolerated by an individual is wholly dependent upon that individual. The fitter you are the more carbohydrate you can eat, the fatter you are the less. This is classic knowledge from the lifting world by the way, nothing new here.

If you are fat and dealing with metabolic issues you should prolly cut back on carbohydrate to lose some weight quickly and heal your metabolism. Once you are inline you can eat them in appropriate amounts and thrive.

In the healthy, fit individual carbohydrates offer the single best source of fuel for intense activity. You are going to consume protein to keep the muscles healing after being slightly damaged through intense athletic endeavor. In order for that consumed protein to do the healing job you want it to you want to avoid gluconeogenesis and so you eat carbohydrate to essentially save that protein for its more fundamental role of being a building block. The fat you eat is providing satiety, being a vehicle for vitamins, tasting delicious, etc.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 25, 2011
at 01:28 PM

Just a recap of my comment above: In some people, the underlying causes of metabolic syndrome don't go away, even as the fat disappears. Those people (I'm one) may never be able to eat carbohydrate without putting weight back on.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 25, 2011
at 01:45 PM

My experience is that I will eat high fat/high protein for a while, and will feel proactive, and driven, but eventually started to not feel so good, and I was craving something like potatoe's, so I had those and other carbs, and felt better. Generally, I like being on a high fat, high protein, but eventually I need to carb up, and then carb down again and keep the cycle going. What are others experiences??

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