November 9, 2011

But you gotta have carbs!

I hear it over and over again. "Your brain needs carbs!"

Yes, it does... and no, it doesn't.

In actuality:

The old wives tale that you must eat 130 grams of carbohydrate a day has no basis in science. Is is one of those factoids that has been passed from teacher to student in the health profession for generations--long after anyone remembers where it originally came from.

Lies that will not die!
This oft-repeated statement is not quite a lie; because your brain does have glucose needs; aka, blood sugar. Other organs in the body can run on other things... but brain needs sugar is the more accurate statement.

However, this sugar doesn't have to come from carbs.

Our livers have a magic trick up their sleeve. It can use protein and turn it into glucose! When the liver performs "gluconeogenesis" our brains can't tell the difference.

Not only that, our brains seem to detect a lack of circulating glucose when we eat low carb; because the brain starts utilizing ketones (made from fat) even more, actually lowering its need for glucose.

The fact that the body has such adjustments readily available suggest that it was not unknown for the body to have to cope with a "carb shortage." In fact, since our brains actually run better on ketones... it wouldn't be out of line, at all, to conclude that a "carb shortage" is our body's natural state.

When I imposed about 50 grams of carbs on my body, every day, my body reacted to this state with lowered blood sugar, lowered body fat, lowered blood pressure, and lowered triglycerides. These are all things medical science wants me to lower.

So I don't think it's a shortage of anything my body needs.

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