How to Carb your Day

As promised, a continuation of my last post on carbohydrate intake.

Now that we know approximately when to eat our carbs, and what the healthiest carb choices are, we can discuss how much we should be eating and how to apply it to our daily lives.

A serving of a starchy/sugary carb is usually 1 cup, except for grains which are a 1/2 cup. And for a whole piece of fruit, one medium size is good.

Remember, this includes things like:

  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Berries of all kinds
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Cherries
  • Beets
  • Winter Squash
  • Yams/Sweet Potato
  • Regular Potato
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa

You get the idea. Anyway, if you are purposely sticking to a low carb diet then you don’t want to go any higher than about  2 servings a day. If, on the other hand, you’re wanting or needing carbs, then aim for 1-2 servings with each meal. Once again, this is highly individual based on your activity level, gender, age, preexisting conditions such as thyroid or adrenal issues, etc.

If you want specific carb numbers then I’d say a low carb count would be 50-100 gm/day. And a higher carb count would be 200-300 gm/day. For women in particular, I wouldn’t recommend going much lower than 100 gm/day due to the risk of developing hormonal issues, sleep disturbance, cravings, mood swings, etc. Woman don’t do as well with a long term low carb approach. If you’re really active, shoot for the 200 gm mark or above. Here’s the caveat: carbs and fat don’t mix! Especially if weight loss is your goal. Therefore with meals containing a higher amount of carbs, you must simultaneously reduce the fat content of that meal, and vice versa. I would advise you to make a choice and stick with it. If you’re a low carb-er, than keep your fats high. If you prefer to keep your carbs high, than you must keep your fat low. You can’t have both, unfortunately! Well, you can, but I’m assuming we’re talking weight loss and/or maintenance for most people.

Before I go any further I’d just like to say that I’m not a fan of tracking specific numbers of your macros. I know many people like to use MyFitnessPal or other apps, but if you’re prone to obsessing over these things, then please stay away, just measure the total amount of food, not the exact macronutrient content.

Ok, so How do I EAT? Here’s a basic example of a high carb day vs a low carb day

High Carb

As you can see, there is always some carb in every meal, and as the carbs went up, the fat went down, but the protein should always stay the same.

Remember, there is no right or wrong approach here, do what is right for you. I highly recommend keeping a food/feelings journal. Keep track of what you’re eating and how it makes you feel, both physically and emotionally. Try both approaches if you’re unsure which is best, but give each one atleast 2-4 weeks before giving up. Don’t go back and forth constantly. Personally, I have been eating a low carb/high fat diet for quite some time now. I’m actually just in the process of switching things around to see if it makes any difference to my performance in the gym. I’ll keep you posted 😉