Integrative Health Blog

Is Low Carb for Everyone?

Posted by NIHA Staff on Mon, Aug 04, 2014

Buzzwords change over the years, don’t they?

In the 80’s it was “low fat” and “no fat” and 6 servings of carbs per day!!

But today the buzzword in nutrition seems to be “low carb”.


iStock 000016254488Small

What does low carb mean exactly and why should we pay attention?

In the United States, our government has revised the nutritional guidelines 5 times since WWII.

Most of us grew up learning about the 4 food groups : meat, dairy, fruits/ vegetables and starches. Your plate was supposed to have food from each group to create a balanced meal.

In the 1970’s we were told to ditch butter, eggs and cheese because they were harmful and that margarine, egg substitutes and low fat dairy were needed to prevent heart disease. Type II diabetes and obesity rates have skyrocketed since then as people have replaced fats with processed carbohydrates which contain boat loads of refined sugar. And…..heart disease is still the #1 cause of death in the U.S. So, you could say that we’re sicker now than we were before.

How times have changed

Last month, Time magazine’s cover story said “Eat Butter” with the tagline :

“Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.

Mainstream publications are slowly/finally giving copy to these facts:

1. To the body a whole wheat bagel and a bag of M&M’s are the same — sugar

2. Sugar causes inflammation in the body.

3. Inflammation is at the root of all chronic disease.

It’s not the fat!! It’s the sugar, starches and highly processed foods!

What do all these foods have in common - sugar, fruits, vegetables, wheat/flour products, rice and other grains? They are all carbohydrates.

Without reducing the amount of carbs we consume (not fibrous vegetables!) we will never be able to decrease the amount of sugar/insulin damage and inflammation that contributes to chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and more.

Counting Up Your Carbs May Surprise You

From my unofficial research, it seems as though Americans eating the Standard American Diet eat anywhere from 250-400+ grams of carbs/day which would roughly be 50% or more of the total food intake/day.

50 -150 grams/day is typically considered to be a low carb diet. Coming from what Americans generally consume, then, yes, that IS low carb!

I believe that when you want to reverse metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or heart disease, even 50 grams/day is too high.

Get yourself a carb counting book or app for your phone. See what your intake is for the day - I bet you’ll be surprised!

So, in answer to my own question, “is low carb for everyone?”

In my opinion…….yes.


Topics: carbohydrates, pre-diabetes, blood sugar