4

votes

Does the amount of carbohydrate matter as long as it's all coming from good sources?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 10, 2011 at 4:35 AM

Who came up with the 150 gram limit? Does it come to a point where carbohydrate begin to get dangerous, even if I am consuming it from natural whole foods, mostly starches such as tubers and a bit of white rice. I really want to put on weight, and I am at the point where I don't care if it's fat or muscle. After months on a 3500 strictly paleo diet I have managed to lose instead of gain. Fat in the absence of carbohydrate just isn't doing it for me, it seems like the more fat I eat, the more I lose. Is there a REAL safe amount of carbohydrate or is purely dependent on the individual, and by safe I don't mean in terms of weight gain but overall health?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on January 18, 2012
at 03:21 PM

You deniers of observation make me weary.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 16, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Its highly unlikely that sugar would be stored as fat in all but the most absurd cases of gluttony.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:28 AM

Hey that's great ROB! Glad to hear you are having success my friend. I have gained about 5 more pounds of muscle since I wrote this too so it's working for me as well.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 15, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Thanks Jack. I know this question is old, but I took your advice and I am slowly gaining.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on March 13, 2011
at 03:16 AM

To be fair... it really looks like Matt Stone just got fat. Yes, there is some bulk there... but there is a considerable amount of fat too.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 10, 2011
at 05:22 PM

That's exactly what I was getting at. As long as I get my carbs from good sources, the amount might not matter much.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 10, 2011
at 05:15 PM

Devil's advocate sponsored by "There is no such thing as a macronutrient". Fructose is a carbohydrate. So is starch. Type of carbohydrate matters a lot when talking about limits.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 10, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Yes, if the extra carbs drive your blood sugar up too high, even as a thin person, then you get damage. You could invest (not very much at all) in a glucometer and some test strips and see what happens to your blood sugar after higher carb meals.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2011
at 12:18 PM

Mostly paleo sources, but I eat some fermented grains and legumes on weekends every so often.

86f9e83c849a70233b6bf4b78d249d0f

(145)

on March 10, 2011
at 05:03 AM

From which food sources were you getting your carbs from? Strictly paleo sources or from grains and junk food as well?

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7 Answers

6
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 10, 2011
at 02:01 PM

The 150g is an approximation of how much glucose we need daily, i.e. for energy by substrates that can't use fat or ketones. It can come from diet or be made by gluconeogenesis. Beyond that, it may be used for energy or stored as fat, but it comes with higher insulin requirements, and fewer essential nutrients than other sources.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 16, 2012
at 08:39 PM

Its highly unlikely that sugar would be stored as fat in all but the most absurd cases of gluttony.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on January 18, 2012
at 03:21 PM

You deniers of observation make me weary.

1
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 10, 2011
at 05:03 PM

This is a very good question rob, so I upvoted it, but hesitantly because of your comment "and I am at the point where I don't care if it's fat or muscle".

I understand where you are coming from. I understand 100%. I have been doing heavy weight lifting now for about 7 months. I started at 164 pounds, fairly muscular, but also a slight bit flabby in the stomach and around the neck. After only a couple months on a strict LC Lacto-Paleo diet, combined with working out 3x/week, I 'accidentally' lost 13 pounds, down to 151. I say accidentally because my desire was to gain about 10 pounds of muscle. I think I actually may have, as my muscle mass has increased significantly. But just like you, the more fat I eat, the harder it is for me to gain. The result is that I continue to get more and more shredded month after month. I am still hovering around 150, but with virtually zero flab now. My bodyfat measured 10.1%.

So you might be asking yourself then... if I am struggling with the same issue, what can I offer here in an answer? Well, a few things that I believe may be valuable.

  • I am reasonably certain that, save for maybe reversing severe malnutrition, gaining excess body fat is never a good thing health wise, especially for men (let me explain that). For women, I believe the right amount in certain places in fine and healthy. The female body is designed to correctly carry a bit (emphasis on 'a bit') more bodyfat due to the curvy and voluptuous nature of a woman's body. So my point here is that I don't think just ANY weight gain is the right goal for you. I think lean muscle gain is what you're after.

  • There is 'reasonable' limit to carbohydrate intake, even from safe sources like tubers and rice and fruits and veggies. But the most important factor in what will determine the reasonable limit for you will be governed by the other aspects of your diet. If you are eating high quality foods that include plenty of healthy saturated fats and protein along with the carb sources, then the safe upper limit will definitely be higher.

  • Also, everyone's body responds differently to foods, of course. So to be sure, testing how these carb sources affect your metabolism could be a key factor for you. It is probably a good idea to test the affects of carbs on your blood glucose levels, both eaten alone and combined with fats/proteins.

  • Experimentation is hugely important. This is what I have recently began doing. For a while, I had removed the vast majority of carb sources. Now I have added back in tubers and white rice, more choice fruits, and some raw honey and/or rice syrup every now and then. I am also experimenting with post workout glucose intake to fuel muscle growth. I have tried the low-carb high protein only post workout nutrition for months now, and it's suuuupper slow gains for me. It's time to make a shift. I will let you know how my progress goes.

My condensed advice for you: Experiment with adding a fair amount of safe starches and other healthy sources of carbs in addition to maintaining a high consumption of foods. Don't worry about the amount of safe carbs you're adding until you have reason to worry, like flabby weight gain and/or observed blood glucose concerns.

Hope that helps.

-jack

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on May 15, 2011
at 09:06 PM

Thanks Jack. I know this question is old, but I took your advice and I am slowly gaining.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 16, 2011
at 04:28 AM

Hey that's great ROB! Glad to hear you are having success my friend. I have gained about 5 more pounds of muscle since I wrote this too so it's working for me as well.

1
F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on March 10, 2011
at 10:37 AM

A healthy person should be able to handle any amount of carbohydrates, within reason. However, if you are insulin resistant, the danger is that your blood glucose will become abnormally high over some period. This is basically "diabetes lite" and can result in actual damage.

Here Peter at Hyperlipid is talking about this (in the context of dogs, but hey..) http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2011/02/earning-crust.html

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 10, 2011
at 01:27 PM

Yes, if the extra carbs drive your blood sugar up too high, even as a thin person, then you get damage. You could invest (not very much at all) in a glucometer and some test strips and see what happens to your blood sugar after higher carb meals.

1
2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on March 10, 2011
at 08:49 AM

You have to listen to your body and watch the signals it gives you, my boyfriend does really well with lots of starchy carbs as he is 6 foot and a plasterer/builder so has high acivity levels coupled with an incredibly high metabolism, I'm alright on either really, I am 5' 2" and fairly active, although I have found lower carb seems to eradicate my migraines but that's purely anecdotal.

0
Medium avatar

on March 10, 2011
at 05:02 AM

Carb limit is only in reference to fat loss. I've never seen evidence that glucose intake (from the digestion of starch) leads to metabolic derangement, dyslipidemia etc. You could slow down the uptake by eating fat and protein with it however.

0
86f9e83c849a70233b6bf4b78d249d0f

on March 10, 2011
at 05:00 AM

Nate Miyaki recommends a relatively high-carb paleolithic diet for athletes. Although, he is actually very lean and sometimes recommends the high-carb diet for athletes looking to LOSE fat and lean out.

As for the carb question, it really depends on if you're highly insulin sensitive or not. Those who are highly insulin sensitive can handle more carbohydrates "safely" while those who are insulin resistant cannot.

0
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2011
at 04:50 AM

I think it depends on the individual. Matt Stone just blogged about getting big on high carb. Ever since I repaired my health, I personally don't get big on even 200 grams carbs. Just monitor your health stats and see how you feel. Humans are a VERY diverse species.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2011
at 12:18 PM

Mostly paleo sources, but I eat some fermented grains and legumes on weekends every so often.

86f9e83c849a70233b6bf4b78d249d0f

(145)

on March 10, 2011
at 05:03 AM

From which food sources were you getting your carbs from? Strictly paleo sources or from grains and junk food as well?

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on March 13, 2011
at 03:16 AM

To be fair... it really looks like Matt Stone just got fat. Yes, there is some bulk there... but there is a considerable amount of fat too.

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