Home » How low-carb would you go?

How low-carb would you go?

Yesterday was Taste Test Day at work and I served the Shrimp Scampi I made last month that Mr. Prevention loved so much. Ends up, so did everyone else!! Here’s a few emails that came in yesterday afternoon:


That was your best yet!!!!!!!!!!!! I have really liked some of the rest, but my that was great.

I’d say that dish is a keeper! 😉

Today I have a 10-miler planned (half marathon next weekend!!). Can’t say I’m thrilled about it…but I’m excited to have it done! I shyed away from running after my glucose kept going whacky but the doctor told me that despite the crazy blood glucose, the benefits outweigh the rest and to continue my exercise routine. Woo!

I have a pretty low-key weekend planned and I hope to try out some new recipes (of course), catch up with BLOGS (big time!), go to a new farmer’s market in my town, and spend some time with Lily who is limping pretty badly (again) after going to doggie day camp yesterday. Surgery is likely in her near future 🙁

I also grabbed some reads off Amazon.com some of you recommended:

A Patient’s Guide to PCOS by Walter Futterweit, MD
Fit Food by Ellen Haas
Food to Live By by Myra Goodman
The Insulin Resistance Diet by Cheryle Hart, MD

Question: What do you think of low-carbohydrate diets? As in, 20-60 grams a day low (e.g. 1-2 pieces of bread or 1 cup of pasta)?? Do you or someone you know swear by ultra low-carb eating?

I ask because I sometimes post on one pretty credible health & fitness message board when I’m at work…just to kill time. Someone posted about “How low-carb of a diet do you follow?” and someone posted 20 grams a day…another 60 grams a day. I posted that that wasn’t safe and the girl BIT MY HEAD OFF! It really frustrated me! I don’t know everything, but I sure know carbohydrates and safe “dieting”! Gr, gr, gr! Sometimes online communication is not effective, and that reminded me of Tracey’s awesome post on how communication has changed so much, even in the past 20 years. Check it out if you have time!

My carb-controlled intake yesterday looked like this:

Breakfast: cappuccino, 1 Whole Wheat Banana Coconut Muffin, 6 ounces Greek yogurt (43 grams)
Snack: banana (30 grams)
Lunch: 2 leftover Chicken Enchiladas and 3 c. salad with balsamic vinegar (42 grams)
Snack: apple (15 grams)
“Dinner” on-the-go: 10 Triscuits with 3 ounces of low-fat cheese (35 grams)
Snack at baseball game: 5 nachos with 20 ounces of light beer (~15 grams)
Snack: 1 serving flan with 1/2 ounce almonds (22 grams)

Totals: 202 grams carbohydrate; approx. 50% carbohydrate

It was a bit weird and unbalanced because I got home from work around 7pm and we had friends waiting in our driveway to take us to a baseball game. So dinner was on the fly, literally!

Question: What are you doing this weekend? Anything fun? Anyone racing?


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  1. May 7, 2010 / 8:38 am

    Thanks for the book ideas (from your readers) – I’m going to check into them. Good luck on your last training run – I promise all this will be totally worth it during and after the half marathon! I’m so proud of you for continuing on thru these issues 🙂

  2. May 7, 2010 / 8:50 am

    I’ve never liked the idea of low-carb diets. I like that you’re calling it diet-controlled, because that’s how it should be. If you’re ingesting too many carbs then sure, lower your intake. But your carbohydrate intake, I think, should never be LOW. I think most of the excess carbs that a lot of people get are from sugar. Lowering sugar is one thing, but thinking you can’t have a bowl of oats for breakfast or a sandwich on whole-grain bread because it’s unhealthy and/or will make you fat is ludicrous.

    Have you seen that idiot, Blaine, on the fitness channel? I think it’s called Blaine’s Low-Carb Kitchen. Watching him makes me so pissed off! He actually suggests substituting heavy cream for milk (because of the lactose, oooh scary) and likes to deep-fry everything. And he’s still really overweight and hasn’t seemed to have lost any more weight since he lost I think 50 pounds by going low-carb. One episode he was hosting a party and he brought out this tray of veggies and he was like, “Look how many vegetables I can still eat, even on a low-carb diet!” Apparently veggies and fruits have to be restricted? Jeez. Oh, and of course he uses tons of artificial sweeteners that are much worse for you than a piece of bread will ever be.

    (okay, rant over :P)

  3. May 7, 2010 / 9:20 am

    Amazing that you are running 10 miles, girl! I would probably die if I attempted that…

  4. May 7, 2010 / 9:20 am

    I did atkins back in college and felt great – was never hungry. I was only eating 20 grams of carbs a day. I lost about 9 pounds the first week!! BUT, I was eating really unhealthy things like full fat bacon, burgers, creamy fatty salad dressings, tons of artificial sweeteners, etc. And the weight came back on when I quit and then some!! So no, ultra low carb diets are not good in my opinion. They are very unhealthy and will only backfire – this was my experience at least.

  5. May 7, 2010 / 9:49 am

    Thanks for the shout-out! I’m so not into low-carb. I think I probably eat more carbs than normal, and I can’t imagine going without. Unless I had to reduce my carb intake because for medical reasons, like diabetes, I wouldn’t avoid them. Do those people know fruits and veggies have carbs too? Because there’s no way to get your recommended fruit and veggie needs on 20 grams of carbs a day. One apple has 34 grams; a banana as 30 grams; a pear has 26 grams!

  6. May 7, 2010 / 9:52 am

    I honestly have no idea how many carbs I take in per day. Probably about 65-70% of my diet if I had to guess. I don’t think I could reduce it by very much, mostly because I LOVE carbs, but also that’s mostly what my body needs since I’m pretty active.

  7. May 7, 2010 / 9:53 am

    Some people take everything as criticism– why did she ask the question in the first place?!? lol

    I couldn’t do low-carb. There’s just no way 🙂

  8. May 7, 2010 / 9:55 am

    I’m not a fan of low-carb at all! All it does is make me want more carbs… not good 🙂

  9. May 7, 2010 / 10:20 am

    Super excited to hear you can keep running! Hopefully I’ll get a fun run in this weekend too. Hope the weather is as great where you are today!

  10. May 7, 2010 / 10:22 am

    I have to admit that I’m not good with keeping track of the whole carbs thing — unless I’m tracking online which I haven’t done in awhile… I just try to stay under a certain amount of calories. That’s probably bad, isn’t it?

    For this weekend, I plan to be a slug. Of course, slug life comes after getting in some rock climbing and bicycling. 😉

  11. May 7, 2010 / 10:40 am

    I know no carb is not for me…but I have noticed that carbs don’t do much to make me feel full. My husband, on the other hand, can get full on a bowl of pasta – I need some protein with mine.

  12. May 7, 2010 / 10:55 am

    I seriously have no interest in spending my day in ketosis. I stick to a BALANCED diet. Really people, do they just forget this. If they want all fat and protein, that is fine, but the consequences on their body are theirs to deal with too. I prefer my health. I can’t even believe she bit your head off. Did you tell her to do some research, maybe get a degree or something? Sorry, but people who act like they know everything but have no training and no research to back things up, really piss me off. I worked my a** off to be an expert in my field so I hate when people try to discredit my education.

    • Nicole
      May 7, 2010 / 4:39 pm

      PREACH IT! 😉

  13. May 7, 2010 / 11:16 am

    Low carb diets are EXTREMELY dangerous in my opinion! I teach all my clients that they have to follow an eating regime that is sustainable for a LIFETIME! Not 1 or 2 months but FOREVER! Eating a diet of 20g of carbs a day is no sustainable, realistic, or healthy.

  14. May 7, 2010 / 11:18 am

    Have an amazing weekend. Your enthusiasm is quite infectious. Cheers!

  15. May 7, 2010 / 11:18 am

    I remember when my mom tried out Atkins…she lost like 7 or 8 pounds in the first week, then it kind of stalled. Understandably, she got tired of nuts, meats, and cheese! She put on the weight plus more when she brought back carbs into her life. I can understand how eating a TON of carbs isn’t the healthiest, but I could never, ever eat low-carb!

  16. May 7, 2010 / 11:38 am

    Nothing wrong with a low carb diet if you can handle it. It’s generally great for people who are endomorphs and have high insulin sensitivity imo, and for those people looking to lose those last few pounds.

    I’m currently on a PSMF diet to get down to 10% body fat – working great so far, except for the occasional carb crazy thoughts ;).

  17. May 7, 2010 / 11:51 am

    I dont know how to feel about low carb diets. There are people who eat 20-60g every day of their life and it works for them. But a paleo diet is not for me in any way. I guess it just depends on the person.

  18. May 7, 2010 / 12:08 pm

    I think anything less than 40% of your overall intake is low carb and not ideal personally. Our bodies function best with a balance and not having enough of a macronutrient just does not make sense and isn’t smart in my opinion. I used to post a lot on a fitness forum like the one you are talking about and there were plenty of girls (girls because you have to be smart to be a woman) that would eat less than 80g/day. I had dieted at around 75-100g/day a long time ago and ended up passing out sick and with hypoglycemic issues. Now, I don’t think I ever go lower than 150g/day and I usually get a good bit more than that.

  19. May 7, 2010 / 1:59 pm

    Hold on, TWENTY GRAMS?!?! Thats it? I would die. The end.

    Im a big fan of carbs, and I just dont think its safe to cut out an entire food group. Why cant people just eat healthy and leave it at that? Its not some super difficult complicated concept ya know?

    OH – and btw, I LOVE Triscuits! They remind me of Christmas.

  20. May 7, 2010 / 2:57 pm

    Ok, 20 or 60 grams! Come on people! I’m with you, 200 grams seems to be the safe minimum. But there are people who will always believe what they want to believe. Farmers market and a run: sounds like fun! Farmers markets here started this week, need to check them out too!

  21. May 7, 2010 / 3:22 pm

    I think that low carb is just crazy. I couldn’t even begin to imagine doing this.
    I can’t believe you were given a hard time. That is what is hard about our field. So many people, who might not have the education, can post their views and thoughts, and not they are not always correct or safe.

  22. May 7, 2010 / 4:45 pm

    Your taste test day sounds like it was a huge success! I would love to start something like that, it’s such a great idea. Oh poor Lily…I hope she’s feeling better soon!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Nicole!

  23. May 7, 2010 / 6:41 pm

    Congrats on a great taste test!
    I don’t count carbs. I eat healthy meals with clean, whole, nutrient rich foods and it works for me!

  24. May 8, 2010 / 12:17 am

    yeah i do not think i could manage or do a low carb diet… then again i have no desire to do so. i am trying to get a 40/30/30 ratio down at the end of the day but seriously i always end up with about half of my daily calories coming from carbs… that is just how my cookie crumbles

  25. May 8, 2010 / 7:05 am

    I did the Atkins thing 7 years ago and kept my carbs below 40 for about 5 months. IT didn’t bother me in anyway as I was biking like crazy and running then too. Biggest thing was getting variety I liked while keeping below 40.

    Nothing exciting planned yet. Off to work now. Have a good weekend.

  26. May 8, 2010 / 7:14 am

    I don’t understand how it’s even possible to eat such a low-carb diet (like, less than 100gm per day). I hardly eat any bread/rice/pasta and I’m always well over 100gm per day, usually above 150. Sometimes I eat oatmeal but most of my carbs add up from fruits, veggies, beans, etc. Do these people not eat any fruits and veggies?!

  27. May 8, 2010 / 7:26 am

    Good luck on the ten miles babe! After doing that you will be SO ready for your half! Make sure you take some running “nutrition” with you. I know they are blechy but have you tried the Gu gels or sports beans? They really do make a difference in keeping your blood sugar up and it is critical that you eat something every hour of running.

    I could never do a low carb diet. I exercise so much, though, that I literally don’t think my body could handle it. Especially with all this running, you should NOT be limiting your carbs! I think the worst diets are those that eliminate an entire food group…people are just asking for trouble if they do that!

  28. May 8, 2010 / 11:01 am

    I used to eat lower carb—around 75 grams a day, but the problem was is that I didnt increase other macronutrients so I just wasnt eating enough. Silly silly days those were! I have no idea how many grams I eat now–all I know is that its much more than it used to be!

  29. May 8, 2010 / 3:51 pm

    I’m not a big carb counter. I just try to stay away from sugar, grains, and processed food. Whole, real food is the way to go!!

  30. May 9, 2010 / 8:48 am

    I do sub-20 grams LC. It has literally saved my life. I’m a 35-year old T2 diabetic with a degree of beta-cell burnout, hypertensive, have PCOS, PMDD, had early-stage kidney issues, am disabled from a back injury, arthritic, etc etc. My highest weight was 330. I currently weigh 265. Since going sub-20, I have been able to eliminate my diabetes medication (A1C gone from 8.3 to 5.2), my BP is now normal on 1/2 my previous med dosage, my periods have normalized/I’m ovulating again, no more odd hair growth on my face, my pre-menstrual emotions are under control, my kidneys are back to normal, I can walk up to 3 miles per day without back pain, though I am increasing my distance and hope to work up to 5, and my arthritis is gone. I’ve done 10+ years of research and am 100% confident in the validity of low-carb for good health, especially for those with insulin issues/metabolic disorders. No, I will probably not continue sub-20 for the rest of my life, but for now, because of my sensitivity to carbs, I do – it is the only way I can stay off meds, lose weight, and regain health. I have come to terms with the possibility that I will have to remain sub-20 for life, however, and I am more than fine with that – however, regardless of how my pancreas behaves in the future, I will never go back over 100 grams per day. I do not believe that is healthy – for me, and for many others who have my same sensitivity to carbs and health issues. Even at sub-20, I have so many options for meal choices that I don’t ever see myself becoming bored or unsatisfied with my lifestyle.
    I don’t consider myself a freak of nature, and I communicate daily with hundreds of other LCers like me who feel just as strongly in the validity of our choices. Not everyone shares those beliefs, but the science is coming back around and I hope you will continue to teach yourself and keep an open mind.

  31. Jennifer
    June 1, 2010 / 10:28 pm

    Whether you believe that man evolved from African ancestors or was created in the garden of Eden, it is a reality that grains and sugars that do not occur naturally in fruits are man-made foods that have only been around for several thousands years, unlike the human body, which has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Low carb diet does not mean an all-meat diet — I gave up sugar, rice, and all grain-based foods 5 yrs ago to lose 30 pounds and am 5′ 7″ and weigh 125 lbs at age 43. I only eat meat three times a week, and I don’t eat pork or anything heavily salted. The bulk of my diet is veggies roasted with herbs and garlic and olive oil, some cheese now and then, eggs, and two or three fruits a day. I drink whole milk and cook with cream. My cholesterol numbers are perfect, my BP is low, and my blood sugar is low. The women I know who love carbs are often, even when a normal weight, flabby and jiggly even though they jog and/or lift. I walk 4 miles a day and lift every other day and my muscles are more defined than they were when I was younger.

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