After finishing the book “Why We Get Fat”, I decided to try a low carb diet. I needed a baseline before I set any goals, though. So I decided to go crazy last Friday and stack up on the carbs and the sugar. Not only would this give me an idea of a bad carb day, but it would give me an idea of an upper limit.
Last Friday I ate around 319 grams of carbs and 206 grams of sugar. I was, quite frankly, amazed that 2/3s of my carbs came from sugar. I didn’t think I ate that much sugar. But that’s what the nutrition labels told me. Of course not all of it was added sugar, and some was natural. But even when I went back and estimated what the added sugar was, I was still at around 140 grams of added sugar, the worst kind.
The recommended daily allowance for carbs is 300 grams per day. So even blowing out the carbs in one day, I didn’t do too bad overall. That alone tells me a little about government recommendations. If I try and eat bad and barely go above the recommendations then there seems to be something wrong. Of course, they would tell me it’s the kinds of carbs I eat, not just the general carbs. But it is frightening how many “good” carbs I’d have to eat to meet recommendations.
There didn’t seem to be any recommendations on sugar alone, which is strange since the USDA literature really discourages eating sugar. They seem to want you to just eliminate sugar from your diet. Good luck. As I was completely shocked by, almost everything has sugar in it, and a lot of that is added sugar. Check your foods during the day to see what’s in them. How many ingredients listed end in “-ose”, which generally means it has some kind of added sugar? Yet there are no recommendations. Unbelievable.
So I’ve decided to start with cutting sugar. After looking around online I think that trying to get my sugar intake below 50 grams seems reasonable. I’m also trying to stay below 150 grams of total carbs. I decided to start there and see what happens. I began Saturday, but then had a pre-planned Superbowl party with lots of goodies that had already been bought, so Sunday night was not a banner day.
I also still have a lot of high carb foods in the house, so I’m not going to be totally successful right away. Until I go and do some grocery shopping I’m stuck eating what I have left in the house. I don’t believe in just throwing away food, so I thought I’d just do the best I can with what I have until I can adjust.
I’m keeping track of calories, carbs, sugars, and fiber. I’m only concentrating on carbs, but the calories have come down as a side effect. I won’t be a great test case for the carbs vs calories debate unless I can adjust my diet accordingly.
I also want to get a handle on my blood pressure and cholesterol and see what happens there as well. My blood pressure is always a little elevated, but not too bad. I want to make sure that what I am doing doesn’t have any adverse effects. Even though Mr. Taubes’ book says that the way we generally understand cholesterol isn’t the whole story, I’d rather be safe than sorry.