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Newbie - One Main Thing I Don't Understand about the Carb Argument

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  • Newbie - One Main Thing I Don't Understand about the Carb Argument

    I have reading about Primal/Paleo nutrition for the past few weeks and am very intrigued by this concept because to me, when reading the logic & scientific evidence presented, it makes perfect sense to me.

    In the 2 books I've read (Primal Blueprint & Paleo Diet) they both state that carbohydrates are not needed for human survival or something along those lines. In the Wikipedia entry for carbohydrate it states "Carbohydrates are a common source of energy in living organisms, however, no carbohydrate is an essential nutrient in humans." I'm assuming by how this fact is stated in multiple places that it is common knowledge???

    BUT...then why would a vast majority of people think their diet should be mostly comprised of something that is NOT essential for the human body? That makes no sense to me.

  • #2
    Ten thousand years of tradition. Hearing that bread is the staff of life and even, for Christians, the savior. Ancestors surviving because they had enough bread, rice or potatoes.
    Ancestral Health Info

    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


    • #3
      Once upon a time not so long ago everybody knew for certain that the earth was the center of the universe.


      • #4
        Originally posted by JVAMan View Post
        a vast majority of people
        Has that phrase ever been tied to anything smart? There's your answer.

        edit: Also what Hedonist said.
        Last edited by Grumpycakes; 06-15-2011, 09:26 PM.
        You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


        • #5
          It's not an essential macro as the body can make it's own unlike protein which you have to get from diet. Though carbs not essential I like to include them in my diet and do better with carbs in my diet. In the Perfect Health Diet, Jaminet talks about the need for carbs from diet and some of the issues that can occur when too low in carb for too long.
          Last edited by Sue; 06-15-2011, 09:27 PM.


          • #6
            Carbohydrates are non-essential the same way that vitamin D is non-essential. Non-essential doesn't mean unimportant; it means that even if we don't get any from our diets, our bodies know how to manufacture them out of other materials. In the case of carbohydrates, our liver can make them out of proteins.

            Manufacturing carbohydrates out of protein is not ideal, however. It makes the liver do extra work, and the conversion produces byproducts (e.g., ammonia) that can be a bit toxic.

            If you're insulin resistant, a very-low-carb diet that uses a combination of ketone bodies an gluconeogenesis in place of dietary carbs may be your least bad option.

            But if you're not insulin resistant, you're probably better off satisfying your body's carbohydrate requirement by eating carbs instead of asking your liver to manufacture them. That'll generally mean eating about 100g-150g of carbs per day (more for athletes), which is still rather low carb compared to the standard American diet. But just because we technically can eat zero doesn't mean we should.


            • #7
              You do get carbs w/a primal-paleo eating pattern, it just doesn't come
              from sources that don't have your best interests in mind. Avocado, cauliflower,
              almonds, bell peppers, broccoli, all provide carbs. Now if we could just
              get carbs in bacon...


              • #8
                ...then why would a vast majority of people think their diet should be mostly comprised of something that is NOT essential for the human body? That makes no sense to me.
                Once upon a time, there was no such thing as cold refrigerated storage to keep your steak a few days longer, no green houses to grow your spinach in the middle of December, but there were grains and people found that so long as the grains were dry they could last more then a single season, they could travel well and essentially were one of the few foods that didn't need to be eaten within a few days of harvesting them. If you made thick pastry from them you could wrap it around other foods that did spoil quickly and suddenly you could eat a slightly stale five day old meat pie without dying of botchulism. As a result, grains became really popular. And then the rich land owners kicked the poor off the common lands in order to plant even more wheat to get as much profit as they could and the poor had no where to graze their animals or have a small vegetable garden and were forced to buy the wheat from the rich land owners or starve. After a couple generations it was the food they were most familiar and dependant on. Fluctuations in prices and bad harvests would result in famine and political unrest because there was no alternate crop to fall back on.
                That's my version of a few thousand years of agricultural history paired down to a few run on sentences. The potato's history is just as fun.
                The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas Edison

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