Why ingest carbohydrates at all

Michael V Baker
By Michael V Baker Latest Reply 2014-12-06 21:45:38 -0600
Started 2014-12-02 23:32:47 -0600

Unless one is going to exercise immediately? Who is living with type 1 or 2 and avoids Carbohydrates almost all together when ingesting foods? Any reason aside from needing glucose for sustained exercise periods?? A determined basal insulin infusion hourly from pumps or lantus injectable insulin seems to sustain great BGs when eating good proteins and lipids. And most restricting 20+grams of carbos/meal see great weight reduction. Yes, carbos taste good on average for a minute, but, play havoc for hours at times.

42 replies

Im0nGuard 2014-12-05 20:49:36 -0600 Report

I have been eating between 25 and 50 grams of carbs per day. After a couple of days of adjustment, I have felt better, and my fasting BG has gone from 7-8 down to 4.5-5 within 2 weeks of beginning. I have been following the LCHF/ketogenic/Atkins phase 1 way of eating.

DrJohn 2014-12-05 06:17:14 -0600 Report

Correction. 120g, not 120 mg

haoleboy 2014-12-05 15:47:03 -0600 Report

The brain does not require carbohydrates to function. It requires glucose … about 100 grams a day. While carbs are the most 'convenient source of glucose, thanks to gluconeogenesis, both fats and protein can and do provide glucose. Many of the brains functions can be fueled by ketones as well, which is our bodies "emergency" energy system.
I seem to be doing just fine consuming less than 50 carbs per day.


Michael V Baker
Michael V Baker 2014-12-05 16:20:57 -0600 Report

Assume the brain is in need of soluable fats as the organ is predominately fat in composition, correct?

esjesjesj 2014-12-05 17:18:11 -0600 Report

A sidenote that is actually sometimes relevant. If you have heart problems and the doctor has one beta blockers, there are lipophilic and hydrophilic beta blockers I believe, and I'm hoping our friendly doctor will correct me if I'm wrong, that lipophilic beta blockers cross the blood brain barrier and are responsible for much of the weight gain, cognitive dysfunction associated with beta blockers.

haoleboy 2014-12-05 16:55:43 -0600 Report

The brain needs saturated fats! Our brains are 60% fat and the majority of that fat is saturated.
I have said (somewhat jokingly) that the reason for the dumbing down of our society is due to the "war on dietary fats" that started some 50 years ago.


Anonymous 2014-12-05 23:17:27 -0600 Report

Perhaps ignorant, but, understand the brain as a functioning organ is close to 80% fat contented? How much correlation does fat ingestion, with the 'right' edible fats for the brains nourishments?

Michael V Baker
Michael V Baker 2014-12-05 23:17:17 -0600 Report

Perhaps ignorant, but, understand the brain as a functioning organ is close to 80% fat contented? How much correlation does fat ingestion, with the 'right' edible fats for the brains nourishments?

haoleboy 2014-12-05 23:52:46 -0600 Report

Saturated fats and fats high in Omega 3 are essential for proper
(or even improved) brain function

Michael V Baker
Michael V Baker 2014-12-05 08:46:51 -0600 Report

Thank You Dr, but, sounds quite high. Was this 'factoid' written in a recent medical journal?

DrJohn 2014-12-05 09:24:22 -0600 Report

Yes. I read that in several books. Also, the ADA recommends 45-60 g carb per meal. I assume they mean 3 meals a day. That would translate to 135-180 g per day.

Personally, I eat 153g carb per day, which is broken down as follows:
Breakfast 45g
Lunch 36g
Snack 18g
Dinner 36g
Snack 18g
All meals are covered with insulin at a carb ratio of 1:8.

esjesjesj 2014-12-05 14:37:19 -0600 Report

Actually ADA uses a tremendous amount of mythology that has no basis in research science when it comes to diet.

The first problem is how we measure our blood sugars. The technique you use is so bad that if we use that technique in a science lab, we would not only flunk the lab but they would take points away from other coursework. The logic behind the A1c is also similarly flawed. The best analogy I have is traveling between two points. The distance between New York and Boston is roughly 200 miles it takes roughly 4 hours to cover that distance or an average of 50 miles an hour which is under the speed limit. But when you get to New York, you find your car is full speed tickets why? Because you spent half the trip going 100 miles an hour and the other half sitting there on the side of the road getting speeding tickets. Both average out to 50 miles an hour but the reality is, from the average you can't tell how often you exceed valid limits.

So when you have an A1c of 7%, you could spend half of your time with the blood glucose level of 100 and the other half the time 180 (frying your nerves). With current practice of once a day for type II's and pre-meal and two hour post meal to type I's, you would never see those numbers. And then people wonder why they think they have good control and they still get nerve damage?

Without a CGM, the best we can do is a three-point measurement of pre-meal, 70 minutes and then 130 minute. By catching the rough peak at 70 minutes, you can tell if you've been to many carbohydrates for how your body processes carbohydrates. The 130 minute measurement is the indicator that you produce or had enough insulin to cover your carbohydrate intake. However, this is assuming the your body consumes all carbohydrates in the meal within two hours. For me, it's three hours because of my slow intestines. This was determined experimentally through better management techniques.

Again, this is determined experimentally but, adding insulin even to cover high carbohydrate meals only makes the cycling of blood sugar levels worse.As you probably know, the absorption rate for carbohydrates from a meal in the absorption rates of insulin from an injection have two different curves with respect to time. As a result, it's possible to go low at the beginning of a meal as well as have a very high but narrow spike in the beginning (again, bad for the nerve damage)

Without proper measurement technique, you won't be able to know enough to be able to be able to prevent wide-ranging blood sugars. This is also an example of where restricting carbohydrates is very useful for type ones. If you don't put a lot of carbohydrates in the system, the potential for wide-ranging BG ranges is reduced. The potential is reduced because the lower carbohydrate amount means you use a smaller insulin dose. The smaller amounts correspond to a smaller difference in absorption rates for carbohydrates and insulin which results in lower blood glucose swings.

The whole issue of measurements and acting on those measurements is one of the aspects of diabetes management I find truly horrific. It's bad science, it's bad practice and is no excuse for it. It does require discipline, and I'm the first to admit that it is really hard work and cannot be done all the time even by the most dedicated patient. But doing at some of the time ends up with much better control than using the standard recommended techniques.

lilleyheidi 2014-12-05 03:59:36 -0600 Report

Interesting. I've been following around 100-120 carbs a day for the past several months, and (I know, god forbid anyone read this) including wraps, which include whole wheat flour!!! My numbers have been great, 80-120, and I've been losing weight steadily doing this.
The past week or so I decided to try a little experiment, not knowing what might happen if anything. I've cut my wraps out, and cut my carbs down to about 20-25 per meal, so 60-75 per day. It's only been a week of doing this, and I have not noticed any difference in my numbers at all. The only thing I have noticed is this week I got a 8lb weight loss. Which in one week is out of control.
I have been losing on average 2 lbs per week, so to lose 8lbs in one week is totally amazing to me. I'm sure if I continue on this low carb of a diet the weight will not flow off from me this fast regularly, but it is a great kick in the butt for me. I'm at almost 90lbs loss since Dx.
The carbs I am getting are primarily from veggies and some fruits, mostly berries but i do get about a 1/4 apple a day.
Just learning as much as I can. Thanks, Heidi

DrJohn 2014-12-05 14:30:50 -0600 Report

Type 1 diabetics don't do well with wheat/gluten. It has to do with gluten blocking the uptake of cysteine, a precursor to a powerful antioxidant glutathione. I'm assuming the wraps are made of wheat. Eliminating wheat will have all kinds of good effects.

Michael V Baker
Michael V Baker 2014-12-05 08:46:08 -0600 Report

That's great Lilleyheidi. Same as happened with me lost 30 lbs with better blood sugars immediately. Grain foods according to many Doctors are the cause of so many physiological problems today.

esjesjesj 2014-12-05 14:07:29 -0600 Report

For what it's worth, the line of reasoning behind the grain foods problems is not the Paleolithic diet "religion". It comes from the recognition that many grains cause systemic inflammation of the body and the research that shows inflammation as a common factor (not cause) for many chronic diseases.

I've suffered from repetitive motion damage for over 20 years and it migrated to fibromyalgia. Long-term NSAID use damaged my kidneys and I switch to turmeric as an anti-inflammatory. Turns out the classic extract of tumor is good but the whole herb is better because the other major compound (whose name I also forget) is indicated to have positive effect in the reduction of Alzheimer's occurrence and symptomology.

esjesjesj 2014-12-05 23:56:36 -0600 Report

I honestly don't know. I suspect that it does if her no other reason than that is probably how they first became aware of the anti-inflammatory effect. all other things being equal, I suspect that the anti-inflammatory effects I have noticed would be reduced for a given mass of the whole herb versus the extract form. That is if the whole herb is equivalent to 25% of the extract then you would need to take four times as much of the whole herb to get the same effect as the extract.

DrJohn 2014-12-04 14:13:41 -0600 Report

The brain normally requires 120 mg or carbohydrates per day.

esjesjesj 2014-12-04 21:50:39 -0600 Report

then my brain is starving. I'm measuring around 60-80 carbs/day intake. if I eat 120 grams, I'm looking at number in the 200's instead of 100's.

DrJohn 2014-12-05 06:19:09 -0600 Report

Then esjesjesj your are not taking enough insulin. I'm assuming you are type 1 since you are in the type 1 discussion group.

esjesjesj 2014-12-05 14:03:22 -0600 Report

No, I'm a type II. I was directed to this conversation by a friend of mine. I saw no harm in joining in because carbohydrate restriction is a valid technique for both type I and type II diabetics.

RosalieM 2014-12-04 07:58:27 -0600 Report

It is what I do too. We need soluble fiber to keep blood vessels healthy.
That doesn't mean we have to eat carbs, but we do need to get enough soluble fiber from somewhere and it mostly come packaged with the carbs.
When the fiber is separated from the starch (flour), the fiber does the job without raising blood sugar. This should be common teaching by diabetes educators, but it is not. I think they don't know!

RebDee 2014-12-03 11:45:34 -0600 Report

After my bariatric sleeve surgery, for the first 6 weeks, all I ate or drank was protein. I was not allowed any carbs. I did feel better. As I started introducing carbs to my diet (nothing white of course), my weight loss was less, my body was not as energized, and my bowel movements (pardon me for being so personal) were definitely harder. Of course I stuck with it but I do believe that a very low carb diet is best for me. Carbs for me include green veggies, sweet potatoes, NO bread (that's the hardest) and no salads. Mostly I eat fish, chicken and turkey (I'm still not allowed to eat meat).

esjesjesj 2014-12-03 01:04:28 -0600 Report

I try really hard to keep my carbohydrates as low as can be. The hardest thing for me is with fruit. I love fruit, I've always craved a variety of flavors and tastes and aromatics you find only with fruit. But I have given up most of them except for apples, strawberries, and ras/black/blue berries.

For me the reason to keep carbohydrates lows of trying to control my triglyceride level. Something like 15 to 20 carbs a meal or triglycerides are in the 750 to 850 range. I'm beginning to think it's something related to impaired kidney function preventing the excretion of sugars through urine. That's a question for my kidney doctors

RosalieM 2014-12-04 14:47:11 -0600 Report

One more thing about fruit. When fruit is digested it is cleared through the liver. The form of sugar in fruit is fructose. Fructose takes much longer to raise blood sugar than sugar and flour. That is a good thing. I did an experiment and ate a peach and a banana that is 15 grams of fructose.
I tested my blood every half hour. I did not exercise in this time. It took almost 2 hours for my blood sugar to reach a peak before it started going down. That is a good thing. Sugar and flour takes from 15 to 30 minutes from lip to hips. Fruit may not be your problem. Fruit juice not good as it
goes straight through. That is why high fructose corn syrup (much more concentrated than fruit) causes fatty liver. It clears through the liver. Eat fruit but avoid High fructose corn syrup in any form. Also avoid Agave sweetener, it is highly concentrated fructose. Grandma Rose

RosalieM 2014-12-04 08:04:00 -0600 Report

Maybe not, I eat a lot of fruit too. I love it. However I eat almost no bread and potatoes, rice etc. My triglycerides are 59. 150 or less is considered normal have a high fiber diet too which works for me.

esjesjesj 2014-12-04 21:41:06 -0600 Report

I eat a very high fiber diet and most of my carbs come from veg, a bit of fruit and the occational ryecrisp flatbread. no carbs of any other type (spuds, grain, rice). because I have slow IBS, I add about 1/4+ cup of fiber to my diet every day. still, 800 trigs

RosalieM 2014-12-05 09:55:59 -0600 Report

I don't understand that your trigs are so high, could it be your IBS? I am very interested and very curious. What kind of fiber is the 1/4 cup you add to your diet each day? If you don't mind my curiosity.
I can't help myself. Grandma Rose

esjesjesj 2014-12-05 14:02:44 -0600 Report

No problem with the curiosity. Listening to other ideas, filtering out mythology from good science, these are all good things.

I've used three types of fiber, psyllium husks, the indigestible fiber from corn, and MiraLAX. The last is not a fiber really more like a "personal lubricant" for the intestines.

I use MiraLAX when things are at their most stubborn, the insoluble corn fiber most the time and psyllium almost never as it tends to cause more constipation rather than a laxative effect.

I have a conjecture as to why my tricks are so high. It involves applying queuing models to biological systems, specifically ingestion of carbohydrates through consumption of blood glucose.

Very simplistically, blood glucose level results from the difference between the rate of carbohydrate ingestion (and other glucose sources) and the rate of glucose consumption (conversion into cell food and triglycerides). In a normal body, the two rates rates of conversion are always different but in the long term the system remains in balance and the blood glucose level (queue length) stays in the normal range.

The diabetic system, either or both the ingestion rate and the consumption rate overwhelms the other and the blood glucose level rises (queue lengthens). From this model you can see why carbohydrate restrictions (lowering the ingestion rate), and insulin (increasing the consumption rate) work as treatments for diabetes.

With regards to triglycerides, excess blood sugars are one of the sources of triglycerides which is why the rise triglycerides is a indicator of potential diabetes. This relationship is also why when one restricts carbohydrates, triglycerides tend to drop. I.e. less blood sugar, less triglycerides.

Now as for my IBS, I apologize for the potential grossness of what I'm about to say and I will be as euphemistic as possible but it's a biological system in biological systems are just gross :-)

The transit time for food through my intestines is measured in a small number of days. This is determined experimentally by eating something that doesn't digest well and can be seen at the end of the process (i.e. corn or tomato skins).

A slow transit time means that your body has the opportunity to extract every single possible gram of carbohydrates from your food. A fast transit time means that carbohydrates aren't completely consumed. The drug acarbos reduces carbohydrate absorption and and I believe simulates fast intestines. I've been able to tell when I've had too many carbohydrates because I become very gassy and have loose end products. One thing I find interesting is that if I take Acarbos with a 15 g carbs meal, my blood sugars drop.

Anyway, I think I've written long enough on this for now. Feel free to ask questions as they come up.

RosalieM 2014-12-05 17:12:17 -0600 Report

Hi esj,
I find your posts very interesting. Math boggles my mind, but I do understand what you are saying and I appreciate it.
Have you ever tried a concentrated form of resistant starch fiber. It is made from corn, but is soluble. It doesn't digest until it reaches the large intestine where if ferments and feeds the good bacteria. I have been experimenting with it and have had some rather amazing results. I wonder if it would help you. It is hard to get but worth a try. Grandma Rose

Michael V Baker
Michael V Baker 2014-12-03 00:01:06 -0600 Report

no on 0 carbos. Like you 50-75/day but selective on type of carbs. Find moderate and the 'right' carb ingestions are necessary to avoid hypoglycemia when excercising via tread mills or other cardios for a continuous hour. Potatoes vs Grains; Quinoa and legumes vs rice; apples, bananas vs grapes, plums, peaches & Lots of veggies i.e. Spinach, carrots, celery, brochilli, green peppers, tomatoes…:)

haoleboy 2014-12-02 23:48:13 -0600 Report

I do just fine on about 50 carbs a day.
Are you talking a true zero carb diet? Is that possible or even sustainable?
Maintaining balance while in ketosis can be challenging and if not done correctly even dangerous.
And all fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates … so how do you get the essential micro-nutrients, with supplements?

RosalieM 2014-12-04 08:09:30 -0600 Report

A true 0 carb diet is not sustainable as you would be limited to meat, cheese, etc. Fruits and vegetables are carbs. So is fiber. A true 0 carb diet would set you up for colon cancer. Not enough fiber to move things along, if you get my drift. It is all about understanding food terms.
The assumption is often that carbs are grains and they are but so are fruits and vegetables. They affect blood sugar different than
Grandma Rose

Next Discussion: Over 300.. »