5

votes

If I am going to eat some carbs, should I go for fruit or starch vegetables?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 15, 2010 at 2:13 PM

I seem to be at a point in this journey where VLC is not working well for me--for whatever reason. I am stuck on whether to consume fruit or startchy veggies (in addition to the typical l/c veggies) as a carb source. I have shunned fruit for years as I've been scared of the carb content--I honestly don't know whether fruit or starchy veggies "work" better for me. Can anyone offer any advice from a biological/physiological perspective? My hunch is that fruit spikes my blood sugar more than sweet potatoes, squash, and things of this nature, but I've not meticulously tested this theory with a meter.

Also, IF one is going to eat carbs at a meal, at what point (gram level) should I start getting worried about consuming "too much" fat? In other words, I always thought that in the absence of carbs, fat content wasn't particularly worrisome; however, if I'm eating "some" carbs, does this equation change? I'd still like to keep carbs between 75-100 g/day but lower (under 50) is not working well.


Patrik's note: This question was double-posted accidentally, so I deleted one of the threads. Those of you who (CT, Ambimorph, Jenna Shannon) answered this question on the other thread, sorry about that.

Melissa reminded me that I can merge double-posts. I have since undeleted the duplicate and merged it with this question. Your answers are now visible below.

Cb2415c2aef964ab499a09dc92ae7e01

(783)

on August 16, 2010
at 10:55 PM

Hi Emily Deans had an interesting post about serotonin today here: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2010/08/more-about-sunlight-food-and-serotonin.html Main point - protein and fat alone can leave serotonin a little low, but protein and carb will increase serotonin. I also feel 'full and satisfied' with a few bites of winter squash/yam/sweet potato much sooner than without. And half a cup of squash contains a lot less calories than an extra Tb of oil or other fat.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 16, 2010
at 05:12 PM

I hear you, Eva... but I know a woman of central European descent who read that and felt that it might well describe her. She eats well, so it isn't a SAD issue in her case. There may be something to it.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 16, 2010
at 03:33 PM

The article wsa a bit vague. Kinda sounds to me like the research subjects were having trouble on SAD. Might be they were just eating way too much fructose, more than the body could deal with. Most researchers have never even considered that we probably never designed to eat at the current common consumption rates. Therefore, when they see that the body is having trouble coping and all that sugar is causing gut flora imbalance, they are now calling this a special 'malabsorption' problem if you cant digest and deal with huge tons of fructose at one sitting! And daily!

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on August 15, 2010
at 08:51 PM

@CT - all fixed!

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on August 15, 2010
at 07:18 PM

Patrik! 764 people have voted my answer up...

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 15, 2010
at 02:40 PM

Short and concise :)

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11 Answers

2
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on August 15, 2010
at 03:55 PM

Do your own N=1 testing. Choose yams or whatever starchy food you like best and add some to your diet. Ramp up over a week until you feel better (or worse!) and hold course for a month. Ramp back down for a week or so and go without for another week. Then, do the same with fruit. See which works best for you. If both work, even better.

You might even go seasonal, eating fruit from spring through early autumn and switch to starchy stuff for winter through early spring.

2
95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 15, 2010
at 03:06 PM

Fructose is an issue for many, including many who don't yet realize it. Read this post by Dr Emily Deans on fructose: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2010/08/ibs-fructose-depression-zinc-and-women.html

That said, if your body is okay with fruit, berries are great.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 16, 2010
at 03:33 PM

The article wsa a bit vague. Kinda sounds to me like the research subjects were having trouble on SAD. Might be they were just eating way too much fructose, more than the body could deal with. Most researchers have never even considered that we probably never designed to eat at the current common consumption rates. Therefore, when they see that the body is having trouble coping and all that sugar is causing gut flora imbalance, they are now calling this a special 'malabsorption' problem if you cant digest and deal with huge tons of fructose at one sitting! And daily!

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 16, 2010
at 05:12 PM

I hear you, Eva... but I know a woman of central European descent who read that and felt that it might well describe her. She eats well, so it isn't a SAD issue in her case. There may be something to it.

1
24868bf5aa2c49e269392765932d9dc4

(510)

on August 16, 2010
at 04:41 PM

@Paleo Seb--I can't really explain the problems with lower carbs--I just can't seem to adjust. Maybe it is all in my head--that is very possible. I'm the only one in my household going paleo and I have a hard time with cravings--not their problem--so I have more "cheats/failures" than I should. I'm sure that is the main issue--not being strict enough. However, even when I am strict with paleo foods, I just seem to feel better with slightly higher carbs. I know this sounds crazy but I have a hard time feeling full on fat. I know it is contrary to what most people feel and contrary to what is logical, but it is my experience--even when I eat very large amounts. I have consumed 1 C of hwc, for example, and had it do basically nothing for hunger--doesn't make sense when considering the fat content.

@ Others--thanks for the advice. I should have mentioned that I have had glucose tolerance testing done in the past that shows some mild issues with hypoglycemia--I'm not diabetic but I have an early spike in blood sugar with a glucose bolus and a quick drop. So, on a glucose tolerance test, for example, I'll go from a fasting level of 85 or so to 150-160 in 30 minutes and then back down to fasting all within an hour. I'll keep going down for a bit but never get really low so the docs never want to say I am a "true" hypoglycemic, even though I feel like crap and get very hungry and irritable with my blood sugar going all over the place. Because my spike is at 30 minutes and not at 2 hours, no one (to date) has even been concerned about it--except me. I KNOW I really need to do strict paleo for health reasons but I admit that I find it hard to stay focused with it--I'm not quite sure why that is, as I feel MUCH better when sticking to strictly paleo food choices. Sorry to go on so long!

Any additional advice is welcome...perhaps I also need to be told to get my act together!

Cb2415c2aef964ab499a09dc92ae7e01

(783)

on August 16, 2010
at 10:55 PM

Hi Emily Deans had an interesting post about serotonin today here: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2010/08/more-about-sunlight-food-and-serotonin.html Main point - protein and fat alone can leave serotonin a little low, but protein and carb will increase serotonin. I also feel 'full and satisfied' with a few bites of winter squash/yam/sweet potato much sooner than without. And half a cup of squash contains a lot less calories than an extra Tb of oil or other fat.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 16, 2010
at 02:50 AM

My advice is to experiment slowly and see how you react. Monitor your weight. The main issue with fat plus carbs is that the carbs spike your insulin and the fat provides a hoard of calories which the insulin then wants to deposit into your fat cells. If you are not having a problem with getting fat, then this is not so much a problem for you. As for insulin and blood glucose response this is individual as well and is best tested with a blood glucose monitor. Some people do fine with things that others have major problems with. Another option might be to look into which food sources might supply vitamins and minerals that your diet is currently low with and then target those for early experimentation.

1
00960a1ce76c7e3f99406ba91cfe2fb4

on August 15, 2010
at 03:09 PM

Go for starchy vegetables first, then berries, then other fruits. Fructose tells your body to store fat to prep for winter, when food will be in short supply. Of course, we no longer have to worry about such things, but that mechanism is still in place for most of us.

Increase carbs slowly. After a workout is a good time to eat a starchy vegetable. You will want to either increase activity level or bring down fat (I vote for increasing activity level). Also, focus your carb intake in the earlier part of the day. Eating carbs late at night will make you ravenous the next day and that's no fun. Realize going in that eating carbs will make you hungry.

Stick with high-quality Paleo foods and it's tough to go too far off track.

1
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 15, 2010
at 03:02 PM

I like your idea of testing with a meter, or just seeing how you feel.

Another carb source you could try is dairy, if you are neither intolerant nor opposed.

I don't know for sure about the fat question, but my hunch is that at the carb level you are thinking of trying, fat should not be a problem, as long as it is good, animal fat. From the wording of your question, I assume you do not want to discuss how to optimize VLC, but I'll just throw in that I trust you've been getting enough fat in the first place.

Best of luck!

1
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on August 15, 2010
at 02:31 PM

There's no easy answer for this. But I'd say as long as you're eating real, paleo food, you don't need to worry. Trust your body. Also worth experimenting and trying different combinations and seeing what suits you best

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

(1164)

on August 15, 2010
at 02:40 PM

Short and concise :)

0
14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

on August 16, 2010
at 05:03 AM

Potatoes work best for me. Since my hypoglycemic reaction, I can't eat an apple without having an emotional breakdown, but I can handle potatoes OK (sweet yams are problematic though). Many a healthy culture have subsisted on the potato.

Also, I've found it difficult to put on much weight without eating much sugar. As long as you're paleo and not going too hard on the sugar, you should stay thin, though you may see some weight gain at first if you've been VLC for awhile. Concentrate on eating the right things and feeling good, and your weight should stabilize at a healthy level.

0
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on August 16, 2010
at 04:07 AM

I err on the side of starchy vegetables instead of fruit, but I agree that the only way to know for yourself is personal experimentation. Fruit much have more fructose, but starch might also not go well with you, if your gut flora is not optimal for example.

At 75 to 100g of carbs per day, I wouldn't worry about having too much fat, unless you are desperately trying to lose weight. 100g of carbs is still quite low.

May I ask what's not working well for you right now with VLC? Just curious.

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on August 15, 2010
at 02:52 PM

With significant N = 1 testing... Fructose and I dont agree.

However, especially on heavy exercise days, Sweet Potatoes and I agree heartily, with some Kerrygold Butter and Cinnamon. mmm

Some people dont have an issue with fruit.. im still not convinced that its wholly safe.. and its quite easy to live without it. I run VLC on non workout days, and eat sweet potato or starchier veggies(zucchini, squash etc.) to satiety along with my grassfed meat on workout days(or heavy play days)

0
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on August 15, 2010
at 02:28 PM

i eat both.

Blood sugar should not be an issue unless you are diabetic. Non-diabetic people have the ability to regulate their blood sugar.

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