The carb myth part 3: Low carb vs lower carb

June 21st, 2008  |  Published in How to eat  |  28 Comments

After I wrote Part 2 of The Carb Myth: It’s the Calories, Stupid, I got some interesting email.

One person was insulted that I had called her stupid, as if by putting the word “stupid” into an article I had personally reached into her living room in Peoria or Sudbury and pointed an accusing finger at her. She may not have been aware of the now-famous line from the U.S. Presidential race, “It’s the economy, stupid”, or even the KISS principle that my math teacher used to promote, which means, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Hell, there are at least two lines of publications which explicitly reference the less-than-optimal-cranial capacity of their readership, but who shall both remain nameless since last time I titled an article F*r D*mmies, I got a snide letter from a legal bean counter. I admit it was a blatant five-finger discount. I guess they’ve never heard of the principle about ripoffs being the sincerest form of flattery.

Anyway. I wasn’t calling any of you stupid. Let’s have a group hug before we move on.

Okay, now that I’ve validated all of you and your diverse yet equally valuable intellectual fortitude, let’s move on to the next group of emails. I received some worried correspondence from people who were trying to sort out the mess of information surrounding lowcarb eating and ketogenic dieting. Many wanted to know how I felt about the Atkins diet, or whether high protein was the same as lowcarb, and whether I really was an oppressor of bread.

As usual, we need a road map through Crap Swamp. As I said in Part 2, there is a mountain of mythology about lowcarb that now equals the mythology produced about low fat ten years ago. It can make anyone without a biochem degree tear their hair out.

Allow me to suggest some simple principles that should be your guide.

how NOT to eat

I am addressing my comments here primarily to folks consuming a North American and UK type of diet. The eating habits of other regions, particularly Continental Europe and Asia, tend to be better, although the prevalence of processed food is increasing, especially among younger consumers. This diet is characterized by:

  • Lower intakes of fruit and vegetables
  • Lower intake of fibre
  • High intakes of saturated fat or trans fats
  • Frequent consumption of highly processed foods that contain not only “de-nutritionalized” ingredients but often also chemicals and various types of sweeteners
  • Higher intakes of refined sugary and starchy foods
  • Rapidly increasing serving and portion sizes

Often there are subsets of this type of diet, especially among health conscious young women:

  • An obsession with purging all fat in the diet to its detrimental exclusion
  • Vegetarianism with no attention to adequate protein, nor to actually eating vegetables
  • High carbohydrate intake, especially as an attempt to substitute for fat intake, or also as a result of a vegetarian lifestyle
  • Excessive and ongoing caloric restriction, often accompanied by episodes of bingeing on “forbidden” foods
  • High consumption of caffeinated beverages, which can trigger increased perception of symptoms of hypoglycemia and consequently disordered eating, especially of carbohydrates
  • Insufficient protein, fat, and/or calories to support an active lifestyle

how to eat

Most people consuming the type of diet above could benefit from making the following changes to their diet.

  • Reducing intake of simple, refined, and highly processed carbs
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Increasing intake of soluble and insoluble fibre
  • Reducing intake of bad fats: saturated fats from animal products and trans fats, usually found in highly processed foods, cooking sprays, and artificially solidified oils such as margarine
  • Consuming sufficient quantities of good fats from fresh oils, nuts and seeds, oily fish, avocados, etc.
  • Limiting portion sizes of calorie-dense foods specifically but also of meals in general

Now here’s the thing. These are principles, not specific instructions. These principles can be implemented in different ways depending on individual need.

A nutritional plan which says that everyone must eat exactly the same way all the time is not a good plan. Each person has different requirements, though just about everyone can think of a way that they can make positive changes in their nutritional plan.

Here are ways in which one can manipulate the role of carbs in their diet, from least to most dramatic.

  1. Reducing sources of “junk food”: soda/pop, candy, sweetened baked goods like cake and cookies
  2. Reducing sources of refined carbohydrates and sweeteners (read food labels! food manufacturers hide the stuff everywhere! it’s like cat hair… years after the cat dies you’re still picking fur off yourself)
  3. Reducing and/or eliminating fruit juices, sugary sauces, white breads, white rice, white noodles
  4. Looking at the glycemic index of the carbs that are eaten, and eating primarily low GI carbs
  5. Eliminating all refined carbs entirely
  6. Reducing overall carb intake to a moderate level, say 50-100 g daily
  7. Cyclical change in carb intake, e.g. eating fewer for a set time, then more during a “carb-up” or “reefed”
  8. Reducing carb intake to ketogenic levels, usually around 20-30 grams of carbs per day

how do i know what choices are right for me?

The easiest thing to do is start with the first type of change, which is reducing junk food in the diet. Quite likely after you get over the cravings from habitual use you will feel better. Remember that quite often, a craving does not represent an actual biological need. It represents a habitual pattern of use. Rip that bandaid off the junk food scab and don’t look back.

Then think about the following things.

Activity type. What kinds of activities do you habitually do? Are they endurance-based, strength-based, low-intensity, high-intensity, etc.? Endurance athletes generally need a higher carb intake. Also, consider timing your carbohydrate intake around your activity: consume the bulk of carbohydrates immediately before and after exercise.

Personal response to eating. After a big plate of pasta or a couple slices of bread, do you have the urge to snooze? Do you eat and eat without feeling satisfied? Or do you eat sporadically, alternately fasting and feasting? Research suggests that people vary in their carbohydrate tolerance as well as their response to changes in blood glucose. Ectomorphs (aka “beanpoles”, “Skinny Minnies” or “tall drinks of water”) typically do much better with a higher carbohydrate intake. Endomorphs (aka “built for comfort, not for speed”, “Weebles” or “sturdy”) typically benefit from lowering their carbohydrate intake and substituting a higher protein and fat intake. Mesomorphs (aka “those naturally muscular bastards”) are usually somewhere in the middle.

Blood sugar symptoms. Do you demonstrate symptoms of hypoglycemia? True hypoglycemia is rare but many of us exhibit symptoms that I would call “blood sugar issues”. When the brain perceives glucose levels falling it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system — the “fight or flight” system — which results in similar symptoms as a stress situation.  These can be things like faintness, irritability, the shakes, heart palpitations, or problems concentrating when blood sugar drops. Ever been really scared? And then the scary thing passes and you feel all weak and funny, maybe even a little nauseated? Same deal.  These symptoms doesn’t necessarily represent true hypoglycemia (although in diabetics they can precede full-blown hypoglycemia, often quite rapidly), but they’re correlated with cyclical changes in blood sugar. I sort of glaze over when I get really hungry and need to eat. I space out and get bitchier than normal. After a snack, I’m fine.

Family history. Do you have chronic diseases in your family history that are linked to blood sugar or insulin resistance problems? These can include obesity, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and diabetes.

Body composition. Are you lean? Normal? Overfat? Is your fat distributed more around your middle? If so you might be insulin resistant, although not only apple-shaped people are insulin resistant. The higher your bodyfat level, the greater the chances of you having or developing some form of insulin resistance and possibly even diabetes.

Appetite. What is your appetite like? Are you always hungry? Boy, I was when I was on the low fat, high carb diet. I thought about food constantly, and at night I would lie in bed listening to my tummy growl.

Personal medical history. Some medical conditions can change your responsiveness to insulin and thus require a lower carb approach. Two of the most common ones, as I have noted, are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disease, but emerging research is showing that a lower carb diet can assist with many other chronic disorders, particularly those of an inflammatory nature such as IBS and rheumatoid arthritis.

You could benefit from further reducing your carb intake if you:

  • are not doing large amounts of endurance based exercise
  • get sleepy after a carb-rich meal
  • demonstrate symptoms of blood sugar fluctuations
  • have a family history or a personal medical history that includes Type II diabetes, blood sugar issues, obesity, PCOS, thyroid
  • have difficulty controlling your appetite
  • carry a lot of excess bodyfat
  • have bodyfat which is preferentially distributed around your midsection (though other types of bodyfat deposition needn’t exclude you)

Even if you have all of these characteristics, you need not go fully ketogenic. There is a lot of middle ground between a high-carb and a low-carb diet. Macronutrient proportions can vary according to your individual preference and your response to them.

fat

High fat: greater than 40% of calories from fat
Moderate fat: 30-40% of calories from fat
Low fat: 20-30% of calories from fat
Ultra low fat: lower than 20% of calories from fat

In general, fat intake should not drop too low. With the right kind of fat, fairly high intakes, even as high as 40%, can in fact be beneficial. Dropping fat lower than about 20% will probably start to have a negative impact on wellbeing and athletic performance. Thus somewhere between 20-40% is the right range for most people.

carbohydrate

Moderate carb intake: 50-100 grams daily (can be up to 150 for some people)
Lowish carb intake: 20-50 grams
Ketogenic levels: below 30 (may be as low as 10-20 for some people)

Most folks will feel pretty good and perform well in the gym with an intake somewhere around 50-150 grams daily, especially if this is timed to coincide with activity, and if most of it comes from low-glycemic or fibrous carbs: fruit, veggies and small portions of whole grains. A ketogenic diet is very well tolerated by some people, but it is not for everyone, and it is not even necessarily best for folks with insulin resistance symptoms. A moderate to low carb intake is a plan that works very well for most people.

Another approach is to keep carbs fairly low, below 50 grams or so, during the week, and then raise carb intake for 24-48 hours on weekends. This is known as a carb up or refeed.

protein

Anyone who is weight training should ensure adequate protein, and particularly so if they are dieting, as a healthy protein intake helps to retain muscle mass. For active women, protein should be at least 0.7 to 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight regardless of whether one is losing or gaining mass. This usually works out to around 30-40% of total nutrient intake, depending on overall caloric intake. Males might consider consuming a baseline that is slightly higher.

200 lb. woman = 140 to 160 grams daily
150 lb. woman = 105 to 120 grams daily

This is a minimum level. More can be consumed if desired. Contrary to myth, protein is not harmful to healthy people. Clinical studies on athletes show that active people can assimilate quite a lot of protein with no ill effects, and indeed, an adequate protein intake is essential to performance.

how do i track all of this?

Well, you needn’t get too fussy if it doesn’t suit you. Fitday is a helpful tool that will give you all the information you need. However you don’t even have to track your macronutrient ratios if it’s too much work and you’re getting the results you want, either in terms of athletic performance or body composition. Just follow the principles of good eating outlined above. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain things. Notice the results you are getting. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is broke, tinker a bit until it works! There is no one size fits all approach. Any eating plan you develop must incorporate:

  • an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals
  • an adequate supply of protein
  • adequate fat
  • a long term approach which is a nutritional lifestyle plan, not a short-term band-aid

And the rest is up to you.

Happy bread eating, if desired.

Responses

  1. Liz says:

    February 24th, 2009at 9:16 pm(#)

    I have recently started what I thought was a pretty healthy eating plan, based on the following intake to make up my daily calories:

    Fat – 36g
    Protein – 110g
    Carbs – 149g

    I thought this was good, however above you mention that 50-100g of carbs daily is better (and more moderate). I struggle at the moment to keep within my current carb allowance….even tho I hardly ever have any refined carbs or sugar. Most of mine comes from things like wholegrains and fruit.

    If I was to stick between 50-100g of carbs per day that would only allow me to have the following e.g.:

    1x serving (40g) of oat bran
    1x cup of salad
    1x apple
    1x banana

    = about68g of carbs

    The rest of my calories (at the moment I am allowing 1360 per day) would need to come from fat & protein.

    I think between 50-100g of carbs would mean that I wouldn’t get enough fresh fruit and veg. I would also be really hungry :(

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Liz

  2. Mistress Krista says:

    February 25th, 2009at 7:13 am(#)

    Hi Liz,

    People vary quite a lot in their carb tolerance. Basically you judge your success on how you feel, how you perform, how your health markers look, and how your body composition looks. If you feel great (no post-meal sleepies, lots of energy, etc.); if you are kicking ass in the gym; if your blood work looks good; and if you are getting lean and muscular then keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re an endomorph type (ie prone to being a little heavier/stockier) then you will probably do better with lower carbs; if you’re more of an ectomorph (ie prone to being skinnier/wiry) then you will probably do better with relatively higher carbs.

    The timing of carb intake is also important for many people. Most folks have moderate to low carb tolerance and fare better with restricting carbs to morning and postworkout. Someone with a high tolerance, on the other hand, can generally consume carbs at any time.

    149 g of carbs is fine, though, if it works for you and comes from good sources. Traditional higher carb diets are often something like 300-600 g daily. I typically get most carbs from vegetables, with fruit only after workouts. My intake runs about 100 g a day on training days and maybe 50-75 g on non training days. I eat TONS of veg, esp. green veg but also things like purple cabbage, red peppers, eggplant, tomatoes. So you can do quite well actually if you don’t overdo the grains or starchy produce.

    Your fat intake at 36g daily is only around 23%. Generally with lower carb diets the fat is higher, around 35-40% at least.

    Again, check your indicators: wellness, health, performance, and body composition. Therein lies your answer. :)

  3. Rachel says:

    April 8th, 2009at 10:44 am(#)

    Hi Krista,

    I have noticed that after I eat a carb rich meal..I get very tired..I am a little curiouse as to know why this happens? Could this be due to the amount of carbs being eaten at one time combined with the glycemic index of the carb in association with the insulin response on the body?

    I think that everyone looks at carbs as the enemy whicjh in fact it”s the type of carbs that people are eating. Carbs are the body’s primary source of fuel and depleting your intake to very low levels I would think is not healthy. The body needs to know it is getting a sufficient amount of calories before it turns to body fat for fuel. I strongly believe that the average individual needs to consume far more fruits and veggies and eat less of all that processed junk.

    I eat alot of veggies and fruit, and i also eat alot of complex carbs and try to stay with the low glycemic ones….oatmeal,sweet potatoes,brown rice pasta,brown rice, ezekiel bread.

  4. Shannon says:

    April 26th, 2009at 10:44 pm(#)

    OMG!!!! Is this really the hell I have to look forward to as I begin to lose weight???? Weighing and measuring and not being able to eat foods I enjoy? My goodness – I thought it was asking enough for me to start exercising (a curse word to me) and now I have to do all this too? I am beginning to think it’s not worth all this extra hassle…

  5. Mistress Krista says:

    April 27th, 2009at 6:06 am(#)

    Hi Shannon,

    Relax. It’s not all that complicated. Eat real foods. Eat them in the right amounts, at the right times. Move around regularly. That’s all there is to it.

    Many people feel anxious when they start exercising and/or eating better — they feel that someone is taking something away from them. Making changes can be scary, and you’re inclined to see all the bad stuff about it. You probably have something invested in being able to eat a certain way. We all do. But it’s wrong to assume that eating well means being miserable, or eating stuff that tastes awful. You can make it as complex or as simple as you like. If you want to keep it simple, keep it simple. If you want to learn more about it, such as the “why” or the scientific details, that’s cool too. You end up at the same place regardless.

    I eat abundantly and well. I eat things that are good for me, and that make my body happy. I eat food that is delicious and I enjoy doing it. None of that really seems like hell to me.

  6. lowcarbsauce says:

    July 5th, 2009at 5:18 pm(#)

    Very good article.

    I used to have PCOS. After changing my diet I lost a lot of weight, the cysts on my ovaries are gone and I have a regular periods.

    Fitday is great for people that need to track what they eat. Personally I just eat balanced meals without tracking. I know what is good for me from years of experience.

  7. Lamy Lam | Martial Art Training says:

    July 27th, 2009at 9:26 am(#)

    My take on diet and eating well. I’m a believe of balance diet. Means Carb*, Protein, Fiber, Vitamin and Minerals in a meals.

    * Carb here defined as complex carb. e.g. Brown Rice, Wholemeal bread, Wholemeal Pasta, Potato. All are non refine carb.

    Below are a few example of food I would eat.

    Carb – As mention above
    Protein – Soy Bean, Soy Milk, Tofu.
    Fiber – Oats, Brown Rice, Museli, Raw Seed and Nuts.
    Vitamin and Mineral – Friuts and Vegetables of all kinds. A good mixed of colours.

    If you notice that there is no meat in my diet… Yes I seldom eat meat. I only do meat one or twice a month.

    Hope you like my comment and thanks for the post.
    Lamy
    Martial Art Training

  8. Khendra says:

    September 12th, 2009at 11:49 pm(#)

    Nice article. I’ve found that weight-wise, I am more sensitive to caloric intake regardless of whether it comes from fats or carbs. Regarding more holistic health issues, I think either high or low carb can work provided the foods are good (bad low carb would be stuffing yourself with bacon and beef all day instead of good low carb like fish, nuts, and leafy greens; bad high carb would include simple sugars or refined flours instead of whole grains and NATURAL STATE potatoes [i.e., potatoes that haven't been dipped in massive amounts of saturated fat like potato chips or French fries]).

    I have seen firsthand what low carb/high protein and high carb/low protein can do in different exercise routines as well. When I was higher carb, I could run like crazy – and freaking fast, too. Nowadays, though, I’m into spinach, shrimp (well, I was always into shrimp, but still), and almonds – low carb, higher protein foods, and it’s all about the muscle mass now (I get winded after just a quarter of a mile instead of running a nice 8-minute mile like I did in my carbier days).

  9. Anxietygirl says:

    January 13th, 2010at 8:53 am(#)

    I have tried Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet and other forms of Low Carb diet. They are all good for the general health and for maintaining a healthy weight.

  10. Sonya says:

    February 16th, 2010at 7:44 pm(#)

    If there is no such thing as spot reduction, how will a lower carb diet help people who tend to put on weight in their midsection?

  11. Mistress Krista says:

    February 17th, 2010at 5:22 am(#)

    Sonya: those people will lose fat first from the areas where they put it on last, which is determined by genetics and hormones. The lower carb diet helps apple-shaped people not by spot reducing but by helping to manage the hormonal environment that creates that apple shape in the first place.

  12. Karina says:

    March 11th, 2010at 9:50 pm(#)

    Hi Krista,
    Will lowering my carb intake deplete my glycogen stores? I’m confused..theres so much info out there about how low carb and high protein diets will force your body to use fat for fuel instead of carbs, but then theres an equal amount of info claiming that low carb diets will make your body eat away at your muscles for fuel…what are your thoughts on this?

  13. Mistress Krista says:

    March 12th, 2010at 6:33 am(#)

    Karina: Bear in mind there’s a big range between true ketosis (<20-30 g of carbs daily) and lowish carb. Most folks eating a standard Western diet simply consume too many carbohydrates, period — usually in the neighbourhood of 300 g daily. You can get the benefits of lower carb diets plus retain your energy levels simply by choosing carb sources intelligently and keeping the absolute amount lower.

    Thus, 3 things will keep you energetic and make the mojo work:

    1. Shoot for 100 or so g of carbs daily. An easy way to do this is simply to start by shrinking your carb portion. If you normally eat 1 cup of brown rice, eat 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
    2. Get them from fibrous sources: veggies, a small amount of fruits (don't go overboard), and WHOLE grains. Processed grains such as breads, pasta, flour, tortillas, cereals (including rolled oats) even if they say "whole grain", are not whole grains. Whole grains are the actual seeds/kernels. Thus: oat groats, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, etc. See the grains article on this site.
    3. Time your carbs if possible to get them after training (most important) and/or in the morning.

    This takes some practice in the beginning to get the habits down. Record your food intake for a few days to get the hang of this, and keep at it deliberately for a few weeks till it's second nature.

  14. Karina says:

    April 1st, 2010at 10:05 pm(#)

    Can I just replace grains with fruit or will I be missing some vital minerals?
    I’m in college and virtually everything is processed…especially the grains.

  15. Mistress Krista says:

    April 2nd, 2010at 9:42 am(#)

    Karina: Replacing grains with fruit is just fine. You can also throw in some yams or winter squash, which are higher in carbohydrate.

  16. Karina says:

    April 15th, 2010at 10:01 pm(#)

    Hi Krista,

    Sorry I’ve been bombarding you with questions but I’m in need of some advice.

    I enjoy doing cardio to help me deal with stress and moodiness and I also weight train but could my exercise be interfering with my hormones?

    I have PCOS and used to have excess androgens but my recent blood tests indicate that my hormones are more balanced now. Despite that it’s been nearly an entire year since I’ve had a period.

    My diet is not overly restrictive (I don’t let myself go hungry) and my weight is within a healthy range (5 feet tall, 97lbs)

    I want to train harder because even though I’m able to lift way heavier than I did last year I have skinny looking legs…pretty superficial reason, I know, but shouldn’t my gains be more visible? I’m kind of shying away from training harder though because of my chaotic cycle.

    I know you’ve discussed PCOS in your nutrition articles but I feel like most information regarding PCOS is geared towards women who are overweight/obese. I’ve never been overweight, I eat very healthily and I am pretty active so I really don’t know what to do at this point.

    Sorry for rambling but any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated :)

  17. Mistress Krista says:

    April 16th, 2010at 8:31 am(#)

    Karina, this is something you should really discuss with an endocrinologist. In the meantime, Google “athletic amenorrhea”.

  18. The Diet, Exercise and Whining Thread - Page 163 says:

    June 2nd, 2010at 12:08 am(#)

    [...] Sort of like some people are lactose intolerant and others are not. Check out this article: The carb myth part 3: Low carb vs lower carb :: stumptuous.com __________________ [...]

  19. Simma says:

    June 2nd, 2010at 7:42 am(#)

    Krista,

    Has your thinking on saturated fats changed at all since you originally wrote this article?

    Mine has changed pretty drastically. In recent years, I’ve stopped worrying about consumption of saturated fats from unprocessed, natural sources. Critics of the lipid hypothesis and new sources of information about traditional diets (Weston Price Foundation, etc.) have really changed my thinking on this.

  20. Mistress Krista says:

    June 2nd, 2010at 12:36 pm(#)

    Simma: Yeah, definitely. There are a lot of articles that reflect as much as 10-year-old knowledge and thinking here. I just have to get around to upgrading them. :) I share your POV.

  21. Kelly says:

    June 13th, 2010at 8:38 pm(#)

    Hey Krista,
    I’m a vegetarian and recently discovered lactose intolerant, I thought I was doing pretty well with protein until I started tracking it. I’m getting probably half of what I’d like to be to support the swimming, cycling and weight training I’ve been doing. I’m at around 12-16% consistently instead of more like 30ish. I eat eggs, tons of veggies, nuts and occasionally seitan and various beans but, any tips for some good vegetarian protein sources?
    Thank you much!

  22. Mistress Krista says:

    June 14th, 2010at 6:05 am(#)

    Kelly: See here: http://www.stumptuous.com/kristas-kalorietastic-konfabulator

  23. Jessica says:

    August 6th, 2010at 1:02 pm(#)

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this awesome overview–it answers so many of the questions I’ve had since I decided to try cutting carbs. I especially love how you lay out that that it’s different strokes for different folks, not a cookie cutter solution.

    Cheers!

  24. Lindsay says:

    October 9th, 2011at 1:42 am(#)

    Higher carbs though for vegan diets is pretty normal, I am 5’5′, pretty active [workout daily, but not SERIOUS serious workouts] and eat around 250-275 carbs a day. shrug.

  25. Preeti says:

    March 13th, 2012at 2:05 pm(#)

    Are frequent feedings necessary or beneficial for those of us who experience blood sugar fluctuations? Or would lowering carb intake suffice?

  26. Mistress Krista says:

    March 14th, 2012at 7:31 pm(#)

    @Preeti: That’s actually a very large question that’s outside of the scope of this comment to answer. However, what you will probably find is that if you gradually lower your carb intake over time, and choose higher-fibre carbohydrates as your carb sources (e.g. sweet potato, butternut squash, lentils, etc.), you will experience fewer blood sugar fluctuations as your body adjusts. You can do this with simple substitutions (e.g. a few spoonfuls of lentils instead of white rice) as well as trimming carb portions (e.g. taking 1 slice of bread off your sandwich, or eating the hamburger on its own without the bun, etc.). Fat should go up as carbs go down.

    This is particularly true if you keep your caffeine intake moderate. Restricting caffeine to 1 cup of coffee a day max will really help alleviate perceptions of hypoglycemia.

  27. Michelle says:

    March 27th, 2012at 6:23 pm(#)

    Krista –

    I’ve cut out refined sugar, and have gone pretty low carb (shooting for about 50g a day or 25% of my macro stuff), with a high goal for protein (135g or 45%), and fat kind of naturally comes in around 55g a day. So, I feel great, and haven’t had any of the crazy-person sugar withdrawal symptoms or anything (I’m a salt person), and yum, I love cooking.

    The thing that I’m concerned about is whether I’m eating enough. In the last two weeks, there have been 3 days where I’m just breaching 1000 calories, and most days I’m not much over 1200. I’m working out, but after I workout, I have a protein shake (350 kcal, 54g protein, 17g carb) on the way home and am stuffed for the rest of the night. I seriously think I could not physically eat more. 1 – Is this normal? 2 – Will this change if I’m hitting the gym harder? 3 – Is it possible to get adequate nutrition from so few calories?

    And yes, I know, I know, fuck calories. But this seems like a bigger picture question to me – Am I eating enough?

    Thanks, in general, for this site, and specifically for this series!

  28. Mistress Krista says:

    March 28th, 2012at 5:04 am(#)

    Michelle: Are you eating enough? Let your body tell you. 2 million years of human evolution will keep you perfectly safe. The ability to prevent starvation is well-established in our bodies. When it’s time to eat, you’ll know — your body will tell you loud and clear.


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