June 23, 2014

Carb Ranges for Meal Planning

The range of carbohydrates for the different categories, very low carb, low carb, moderate carb, high carb, and extreme high carb varies greatly and there is no consensus or official ranges. Still some blog authors have done their research and spelled out ranges to consider.

Jimmy Moore who blogs at Livin La Vida Low-Carb has the following to say, “What is a low-carb diet? That seems like such an elementary question to ask, especially to people who are already following Atkins, Protein Power, or any of the many other respected and proven carbohydrate-restricted nutritional approaches that have emerged over the years. And yet defining what “low-carb” means is an important distinction since there is debate over how low you should go and at what point carb intake is no longer considered low.

Organizing a virtual who’s who of low-carb diet research and practice, a review article published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism last year attempted to come to a consensus on what constitutes a low-carb diet. You may recognize a few of the names featured on the expert panel shaping this definition: Dr. Richard Bernstein, Dr. Annika Dahlqvist, Dr. Richard Feinman, Uffe Ravnskov, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Jay Wortman and Dr. Mary Vernon, among many others. The collective wisdom of this group of highly-qualified experts came up with the following:

So, we have three distinct and practical terms and definitions to use now:

Low-carb ketogenic diet (LCKD): less than 50g carbs and 10% calories dailyLow-carb diet (LCD): 50-130g carbs daily and between 10-26% of caloriesModerate-carb diet (MCD): 130-225g carbs daily and between 26-45% of calories

This is the first time we’ve seen actual numbers and percentages applied to what defines a low-carb diet.”

Then I did some more searching and the blog Mark's Daily Apple on January 14, 2009 had a listing that I found interesting.

300 or more grams/day - Danger Zone! Extreme high carb
Easy to reach with the “normal” American diet (cereals, pasta, rice, bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweets, desserts). High risk of excess fat storage, inflammation, increased disease markers including Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes. Sharp reduction of grains and other processed carbs is critical unless you are on the “chronic cardio” treadmill (which has its own major drawbacks).

150-300 grams/day – Steady, Insidious Weight Gain High carb
Continued higher insulin-stimulating effect prevents efficient fat burning and contributes to widespread chronic disease conditions. This range – irresponsibly recommended by the USDA and other diet authorities – can lead to the statistical US average gain of 1.5 pounds of fat per year for forty years.

100-150 grams/day – Primal Blueprint Maintenance Range Moderate carb
This range based on body weight and activity level. When combined with Primal exercises, allows for genetically optimal fat burning and muscle development. Range derived from Grok’s (ancestors’) example of enjoying abundant vegetables and fruits and avoiding grains and sugars.

50-100 grams/day – Primal Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss Low carb
Minimizes insulin production and ramps up fat metabolism. By meeting average daily protein requirements (.7 – 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight formula), eating nutritious vegetables and fruits (easy to stay in 50-100 gram range, even with generous servings), and staying satisfied with delicious high fat foods (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week and then keep it off forever by eating in the maintenance range.

0-50 grams/day – Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Burning Very low carb
Acceptable for a day or two of Intermittent Fasting towards aggressive weight loss efforts, provided adequate protein, fat and supplements are consumed otherwise. May be ideal for many diabetics. Not necessarily recommended as a long-term practice for otherwise healthy people due to resultant deprivation of high nutrient value vegetables and fruits.”

I quoted much of the above because I felt they were important and something we could all benefit by learning from these two individuals. I am especially appreciative of the information from Mark's Daily Apple.

I had my own thoughts for ranges, but I can live with the thoughts of the second blog.
The explanations (not in red) are my classifications of the carbohydrate ranges.

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