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What's up with vegetable carbs?

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  • What's up with vegetable carbs?

    I have been trying to eat about 120g of carbs per day, keeping pretty good track of what I eat.
    The thing is, that I have not been eating hardly any fruit, pasta, or grains, but my carb count continues to be high, from vegetable carbs as well as "incidental" carbs in things like milk, kefir, the protein shakes I drink, etc. I eat pretty healthy (am vegetarian) and one great source of protein for me is legumes, but they are also really high in carbs.

    I know about the difference between simple and complex carbs...but is there a difference in vegetable and grain carbs? Do I need to stop eating broccoli because it has 4g carbs to 2g protein? or stop eating lentils because they have 29 carbs to 12 protein? I mean, without eating PURE protein, how do I lower my carb intake, when I have already practically eliminated breads and grains?

    I have not found this distinction anywhere, and have not seen any discussion about the high number of carbs there are in vegetables. Vegetables seem to be a different "category" in the diet-discussion world, and when people refer to "carbs" there are refering to rice and grains. Do vegetable carbs "count" when keeping track of carbs?

    Any clarity anyone can provide would be most appreciated.

  • #2
    I say veggies count, when you are counting carbs. What about your fruit? High in carbs as well. Can not offer much advice to a vegetarian as I do not eat beans or any grains/rice/potatoes. Try going to the search, Mark has some references for vegetarians.

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    • #3
      As a vegetarian you are going to be eating more carbs then someone that eats meat. So I wouldn't worry about it if everything is working well for you.
      Some don't count the free veg - the low carb veg towards the carb count. Those doing Atkins for example would count all carbs including veg.


      • #4
        There are different types of carbs just as there are different types of fat. Some carbs, like insoluble fiber, are not digestible and cannot affect your blood glucose/insulin, even if you ate 1000g of them (although that would definitely affect, uh, other functions). Digesting green vegetables like broccoli is a glucose intensive process, leaving little to no net gain of carbs (see Perfect Health Diet Carbohydrates and the Thyroid). So I certainly wouldn't sweat the green veg. When you get to starches and sugars, that's where you have to be careful.

        As for kefir, I regard that as essentially zero carbs. Regulations require the Nutrition Facts label to describe the milk before it is fermented. But when kefir is properly fermented, 99% of the lactose is converted into short-chain fatty acids.
        Last edited by Timothy; 09-12-2011, 05:53 PM. Reason: kefir note


        • #5
          (eating healthy = ) vegetarian? say what?

          although this is something i've been curious about too. like if I have about 1/2 yam (37g carbohydrates) daily, and if the only other vegetables I had were green vegetables (like asparagus or broccoli), would my absorption of carbohydrates only include the starchy veg?
          Last edited by spakesneaker; 09-12-2011, 06:03 PM.


          • #6
            I count all carbs, but I don't eat legumes or any grains, so the numbers never get too high. I do sometimes subtract fiber (for example, if I eat a bunch of chia, which is high-carb but pretty much all fiber.) Mark doesn't subtract fiber.

            Can I ask why you're still eating legumes? It sounds like you're vegetarian, not vegan, so eggs would be a great protein source for you.


            • #7
              It gets tricky. Even oysters have carbs. But if you start doing a little mental tracking and estimating it soon becomes easy to eyeball how much carbohydrate in on your plate. And once you're at a healthy weight it's pretty hard to overeat carbs, even with a plateful of broccoli.
              Crohn's, doing SCD


              • #8
                @paleo_hailey: I know! Slow transition. but I do eat about half a dozen egg whites/ a day.
                @spakesneaker: "(eating healthy = ) vegetarian? say what?" (again...) I know! vegetarian has been a long-time lifestyle...eating fish more and more...all part of transitioning to better and better health.
                @Timothy: I appreciate this information, i will look into this further.
                Last edited by susanwithpearls; 09-12-2011, 07:42 PM.


                • #9
                  Paul Jaminet says that vegetables (that is to say, stems, leaves, flowers, etc) should not count towards your carb count, as most of the carbs are indigestible by humans (fiber) and what little starch and sugar there is is essentially spoken for by the digestive process itself. Look at the "net carbs" (carbs minus fiber) of starchy plant matter: tubers, legumes (get dried ones and soak overnight before cooking to reduce toxicity), and of course look at what's in your dairy products, etc.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by susanwithpearls View Post
                    @paleo_hailey: I know! Slow transition. but I do eat about half a dozen egg whites/ a day.
                    Eat the yolks. It'll help you lessen your reliance on carbs to keep you full/satiated.
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