5

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What's the Best Way to Eat Carbs and NOT Gain Weight?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 17, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Hey P-Hackers! I'm new to eating paleo and this is my 1st question:

If I just ate an orange (or something carby), is it better to eat it w/ protein or fat? I know that fat and carbs together leads to fat on your body so why do some ppl eat berries with cream or coconut milk? How many berries do I eat w/ how much cream/coconut milk? What is the ultimate fat to carb ratio or protein to carb ratio where the fat or protein will blunt the insulin response from the carb so you won't get fat? Or is the best thing to do to just eat the orange by itself?

The science of weightloss is really perplexing. The other night I had a fatty steak, w/ 1/2 cup of potatoes sauteed in tons of butter, 1 cup broccoli covered in cheese and 1/2 cup raspberries. My dinner must have been over 1000 calories and I'm 5'3" and 127lbs. The next day I lost 1.2 lbs!! What the?! I'm so baffled!!

Thanks for the help!

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on May 18, 2011
at 02:35 PM

That's a good link. Dr. Harris elucidates the issue, once again.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:41 PM

Great suggestion, Kirsten! I'll go eat an orange and do a short run afterward. :P

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Yes, everything in moderation. :) Do you generally eat the fruit by itself or with protein or fat? Or do you just don't care and eat it whenever?

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:02 PM

Good call, Kricka!

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Thanks Mari, and thank you, Fiona. I know you're trying to get at "if you want to lose weight, just don't eat the carb in the 1st place". I started paleo bc I was a binge eater, and paleo has helped me immensely with that. I'm finally learning how to eat things in moderation! I feel like if I cut out starches and fruits 100%, then it'll just lead me to another extreme. I eat starches (1/2 cup) 3x a week and have fruit (mostly low sugar fruits like berries) 5x a week. I just wanted to see if I should consume my fruit or starch by itself, with protein or with fat.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on May 17, 2011
at 09:44 PM

Calories do matter, to some extent. They're not everything, and if you're eating real food you should be able to regulate them without counting and still lose weight (assuming you're not binging and don't have a so called broken metabolism). Andrew: it was my understanding that protein slows digestion and thus the insulin spike.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on May 17, 2011
at 09:41 PM

Why so anti-carb? Potatoes are probably fine, and some starch can relieve the liver of having to make glucose all the time. We do need some glucose, so instead of having to synthesize it all it's probably a good idea to get some from our diet. Her dinner looked great to me.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 17, 2011
at 06:35 PM

I thought mike does a great job in there explaining the energy balance side of things a little bit more eloquently than Taubes' elongated murmurers.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Yes, right now I'm in a dorm and in no control of how my food is cooked, but I'm excited to go home for the summer and cook with these fats

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:55 PM

If we drown a carb in fat, then it seems to blunt insulin. The thing is, I feel that if we don't eat enough fat w/ the carb, then we just end up gaining weight. Fat plus carbs seem to be synonymous with weight gain. No one can say that they don't gain weight when they eat french fries, even if they are fried in tallow. Oh, and I love Gary Taubes! His books led me to start eating paleo!!

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:40 PM

For a great explanation of why calories do and don't matter read this: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-library/why-we-get-fat/

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Protein spikes insulin so I'm not sure protein would be the trick there. Fat would probably be a better insulin blunter. But that said, spot on with over all concept.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Mari, thanks for your response! So calories do matter? Sometimes I think that, and sometimes I don't. I think it's important to not go overboard and think you can guzzle down 1000's of calories and still expect to lose weight, but there's been 3 times where I ate a large fatty and meaty meal (ie. that steak dinner, Korean BBQ and a buffet), and I lost weight the next day. It's totally perplexing. The general trend with me is the more meat I eat, the more I lose. The trouble is, the more protein I eat, the worse I sleep. Anyone have advice on this as well? Thanks!!

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:33 PM

Hey Kelly! I'm going for more of a primal (paleo+ dairy) approach. Dairy doesn't seem to hinder my weight loss or cause me any indigestion. The quality of my food has definitely improved since I've been on this diet, and I've been really good about limiting fruit. My mom just gave me 2 giant bags of oranges from her tree so now I'm sitting in my living room staring at them and trying to figure out what to do...I've already made arrangements to give one bag to my friend. PS. I now know that fats are GREAT! Butter, coconut oil and tallow are my new BFFs.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Agreed. If you do ingest a significant amount of carbs, do so PWO. You are most insulin sensitive at this time (especially if fasted), thus a weaker residual fat-sparing signal will be sent to your adipocytes as collateral for accomplishing the task of blood glucose transport into other cells.

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9 Answers

4
74c2a166b7f6f13fb39af9f0f439cb38

on May 18, 2011
at 01:46 AM

Best way to eat carbs and not gain weight is, eat the least amount of calories, period. If all you crave is the orange, just eat the orange. It's not a good idea to go eat 200+ extra calories of fat or protein, since the excess calories of that meal go to storage. At least eat your carbs in sugar alcohol form e.g. erythritol if you can't handle your carb cravings.

People eat berries and cream because it tastes good, not because fat + carbs helps keep body fat low. The argument that fat & carbs helps "stabilize your insulin levels" or what-have-you is nothing more than an excuse to eat what tastes good.

3
C0cf19329f850011e66d1ccfa7d10896

(268)

on May 17, 2011
at 06:07 PM

why eat the orange.. and why eat the potatoes? why eat the fruit, fructose is not the best thing for you. If you are going to have fat, which is good, then like you said don't have it with carbs, your dinner was perfect if you took out the potatoes and has the veggies you talked about. If you look at the sugar content in blueberries they are a little lower but they also have more skin, thus a little more fibre and there are some great nutrients in the skin, which in all fruits if one just ate the skin would be in a lot better place.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on May 17, 2011
at 09:41 PM

Why so anti-carb? Potatoes are probably fine, and some starch can relieve the liver of having to make glucose all the time. We do need some glucose, so instead of having to synthesize it all it's probably a good idea to get some from our diet. Her dinner looked great to me.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Thanks Mari, and thank you, Fiona. I know you're trying to get at "if you want to lose weight, just don't eat the carb in the 1st place". I started paleo bc I was a binge eater, and paleo has helped me immensely with that. I'm finally learning how to eat things in moderation! I feel like if I cut out starches and fruits 100%, then it'll just lead me to another extreme. I eat starches (1/2 cup) 3x a week and have fruit (mostly low sugar fruits like berries) 5x a week. I just wanted to see if I should consume my fruit or starch by itself, with protein or with fat.

3
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:20 PM

I'm not sure it really matters. Eating it with protein would avoid an insulin spike, but I don't think insulin spikes are the problem, rather, the chronically elevated insulin is. I would just eat carbs and make sure your calories don't go ridiculously high. You could also try eating carbs PWO.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Agreed. If you do ingest a significant amount of carbs, do so PWO. You are most insulin sensitive at this time (especially if fasted), thus a weaker residual fat-sparing signal will be sent to your adipocytes as collateral for accomplishing the task of blood glucose transport into other cells.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:55 PM

If we drown a carb in fat, then it seems to blunt insulin. The thing is, I feel that if we don't eat enough fat w/ the carb, then we just end up gaining weight. Fat plus carbs seem to be synonymous with weight gain. No one can say that they don't gain weight when they eat french fries, even if they are fried in tallow. Oh, and I love Gary Taubes! His books led me to start eating paleo!!

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Protein spikes insulin so I'm not sure protein would be the trick there. Fat would probably be a better insulin blunter. But that said, spot on with over all concept.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Mari, thanks for your response! So calories do matter? Sometimes I think that, and sometimes I don't. I think it's important to not go overboard and think you can guzzle down 1000's of calories and still expect to lose weight, but there's been 3 times where I ate a large fatty and meaty meal (ie. that steak dinner, Korean BBQ and a buffet), and I lost weight the next day. It's totally perplexing. The general trend with me is the more meat I eat, the more I lose. The trouble is, the more protein I eat, the worse I sleep. Anyone have advice on this as well? Thanks!!

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 17, 2011
at 06:35 PM

I thought mike does a great job in there explaining the energy balance side of things a little bit more eloquently than Taubes' elongated murmurers.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on May 17, 2011
at 09:44 PM

Calories do matter, to some extent. They're not everything, and if you're eating real food you should be able to regulate them without counting and still lose weight (assuming you're not binging and don't have a so called broken metabolism). Andrew: it was my understanding that protein slows digestion and thus the insulin spike.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:40 PM

For a great explanation of why calories do and don't matter read this: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-library/why-we-get-fat/

2
Ef228708abd5f082f633b1cd1d64eee1

(892)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:12 PM

Dr. Davis has an interesting strategy if he takes a big carb hit. (At least he did, I haven't been to the site in a while.) He's more concerned with advanced glycation end products than with weight loss or whatever, which isn't necessarily a bad thing... When he tested his blood sugar after a carby meal and saw it was way high, he jumped on a stationary bike to burn off some of the sugar. I really know nothing about biochemistry so I won't say any more beyond it makes sense to my (somewhat ignorant) self...

http://www.trackyourplaque.com/blog/2011/02/indian-buffet.html

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:41 PM

Great suggestion, Kirsten! I'll go eat an orange and do a short run afterward. :P

2
4fcdbafdb1e8cb536c7e0858ba99c446

on May 17, 2011
at 07:43 PM

I've leaerned that you are to eat a protien and a fat together as a general rule, then you add your carbs in the form of veggies. I believe as long as you're making the right food choices, that go along with the paleo lifestyle, a few fresh picked oranges should not hinder all the progress you may have made by not eating the 'wrong' carbs or too much fruit.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Yes, everything in moderation. :) Do you generally eat the fruit by itself or with protein or fat? Or do you just don't care and eat it whenever?

1
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:04 PM

I don't have a direct answer to your question, but I would generally state that carbs are better post-workout (if you workout). Starchy carbs in the form of sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin are better than sugary carbs like fruit. As someone else mentioned, the right carb intake depends on your goals. I'm not looking to lose weight and am pretty active, so I have more carbs in my diet. Again, I try to get them mostly post workout and limit my fruit and other sugary intake.

The main point of my response is to encourage you to do some more reading about intake and weight loss. The meal you have the day before you step on a scale will have little (if anything) to do with true weight loss. The fact that you had a steak one day and the scale read 1.2# less the next are most likely not correlated. Daily weight changes are more correlated to water retention and factors other than what you had to eat the day before. True weight loss should be measured over time, not day to day.

1
9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

on May 18, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Not all carbs are created equal. Gaining weight from what you eat depends on your body's resistance to insulin. Read this post and the rest of Archevore - "No such thing as a macronutrient..." http://www.archevore.com/panu-weblog/2011/2/5/no-such-thing-as-a-macronutrient-part-ii-carbohydrates-revis.html

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on May 18, 2011
at 02:35 PM

That's a good link. Dr. Harris elucidates the issue, once again.

1
Ce57a94251224f9696faf47f9ca630a0

(858)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:52 PM

I like to eat some fat with my fruit, because the anti-oxidants everyone says are so good for you are fat soluble. So, if there isn't any fat with that fruit, you're gonna be peeing all that AO goodness right outta there!

Also, fat slows the absorption of the fructose a little, so that's a nice bonus.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 10:02 PM

Good call, Kricka!

1
D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:21 PM

It depends on what your goals are. If you are trying to lose weight, eating as little fruit as possible is best because while fruit is paleo, it does not help when trying to shed because of the natural sugars. And you say cheese on your broccoli, are you trying for lacto-paleo? Dairy seems to not help in terms of weight loss as well. But, every body is different so who knows? You may lose a lot of weight eating meals like that!

"I know that fat and carbs together leads to fat on the body"

I would say that isn't necessarily true. Fats are are good! It is the quality of meat that is important!

I'm new to paleo as well, and I'd say just worry about the quality of your foods instead of trying to calculate how much of each of the macro nutrients you should eat.

E2456a3b347d37b526a6b8293faae77b

(758)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:33 PM

Hey Kelly! I'm going for more of a primal (paleo+ dairy) approach. Dairy doesn't seem to hinder my weight loss or cause me any indigestion. The quality of my food has definitely improved since I've been on this diet, and I've been really good about limiting fruit. My mom just gave me 2 giant bags of oranges from her tree so now I'm sitting in my living room staring at them and trying to figure out what to do...I've already made arrangements to give one bag to my friend. PS. I now know that fats are GREAT! Butter, coconut oil and tallow are my new BFFs.

D1908552223e8a97b17f02a90cf795bf

(487)

on May 17, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Yes, right now I'm in a dorm and in no control of how my food is cooked, but I'm excited to go home for the summer and cook with these fats

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