T Nation

Essential Carbohydrates?

This interview by John Berardi made me think about the role of carbohydrates in metabolism:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1252564

In support of zero carb diets it is claimed that there are no carbs which are essential for the human metabolism. Maybe there is no need for a special carbohydrate as it is in case of essential amino or fat acids.

But I question that your body can function without any carbs. For example, there is the pentose phosphate pathway, which among other things is involved in steroid synthesis. Or the cytric acid cycle, which is associated to fat metabolism and protein catabolism.

The proper function of organs as brain or aerobic working tissues (i.e. heart muscle) also depends on the availability of glucose.

Often a necessary “metabolic shift” is mentioned in order to benefit from zero carb diets. I cannot see the biochemical reason why the body shouldn`t be able to metabolize carbs and fats (and proteins) at the same time.

I hope this will inspire a good discussion.

[quote]Hennes wrote:
The proper function of organs as brain or aerobic working tissues (i.e. heart muscle) also depends on the availability of glucose.
[/quote]

Just for sake’s sake, everything except for the brain cares 5/8 of nothing at all about if carbs are around. And your heart lives on like fat. Meh.

What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’

[quote]AKA wrote:
And your heart lives on like fat. Meh.[/quote]

My heart catabolizes pyruvic acid (product of glycolysis) into acetyl coenzyme A and carbon dioxide. Acetyl coA is catabolized further in the citric acid pathway to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. How does it do that without carbs?

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’[/quote]

Just as a datapoint - I was fat all my life, not the way kids are now, but always on the fat end of the spectrum for my age group. I’d do low fat diets and exercise fanatically, be constantly hungry and unable to think of anything but when my next meal, of rice cake and chicken breast would be, be unable to maintain it and rebound fatter. I finally came to the conclusion diets didn’t work, because no matter what I did, I couldn’t maintain a weight loss.

When there was the resurgence of interest in Atkins I tried it out - mostly to prove to myself that it didn’t really work and the hype was just that. I ate tons of low carb veggies and moderate amounts of the lower carb fruits, adequate protein (although not as much as I eat now) and fat for the rest of my calories. After 2 months of eating that way, I realized this is the way I need to eat for the rest of my life. Not only did I lose weight, but I wasn’t sleepy in the afternoons, I had energy, I didn’t have gas, and my rosacea got better. I’ve tried adding carbier foods in, but it inevitably, for me, leads to carb creep and I go back to cutting them out.

I’ve had no problem sticking to low carb for the 5 years since. I love the way I eat and I feel sorry for the people who feel like they can’t have butter or steak. I’m not as thin as I’d like to be, but I think I definitely qualify as a trained up chubby chick (senior division), I’d rate my health as excellent (and my doctor agrees) and my brain hasn’t shrivelled up from the diminished stream of carbs.

I honestly think it’s a variable thing -some people just respond better to different ways of eating.

Martha

[quote]Hennes wrote:
AKA wrote:
And your heart lives on like fat. Meh.

My heart catabolizes pyruvic acid (product of glycolysis) into acetyl coenzyme A and carbon dioxide. Acetyl coA is catabolized further in the citric acid pathway to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. How does it do that without carbs?[/quote]

Amino acids can and are converted to glucose and from everything I’ve read, without all the cellular level details, the brain is quite happy munching on ketones if need be. Also you won’t find anyone advocating a zero carb diet on this site. Reduced/cycled in various forms, but not zero.

–Tiribulus->

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’[/quote]

You bring up Asians diets, but for most of the Asians I know who moved here and kept eating the same diet (American versions), they blew up and got fatter then they’d ever been.

I think our problem is how over-processed our foods are compared to other countries.

I’m not real eager to jump into one of those typically unimpressive eastern physiques either, no offense, but unavoidable observation.

–Tiribulus->

You hit the nail on the head(that and they’re more active).
People easily get caught up in the fad of all carbs are bad.
There is a huge difference between refined carbs(which is really just sugar) and complex carbs(with are high in fiber).
Most people do drop weight faster with low carb higher protein diets because:

For every 400 calories you eat of protein,you burn 100 calories digesting protein

#For every carbohydrate consumed your body holds 2.4 grams of water
(So,you’re not only losing weight from reducing your overall calorie intake and eating a load of protein,but you’re also losing water weight)

And,as everyone knows,when your carbs are low your body burns fat easier

As for carbs being ESSENTIAL?

Sure.
First of all,we need to do more research on this matter and can’t go around saying we don’t need carbs to breathe.
Hell,we don’t really need protein in order to breathe too.
Does that mean we shouldn’t eat protein? NO!
Carbs ARE essential because we want to live healthier,longer lives…right?
Ok.
Do you think you can live a cancer free life avoiding fruit and vegetables?
In todays age we’re at more risk now than ever at getting cancer.
So why should we avoid all carbs?
There needs to be a balance in every single thing we do.
I think thats the BIGGEST problem in this country: WE lack balance.
So,YES.
I do think carbs like fresh produce are essential to living a longer,cancer-free life.
After all,most people won’t see them as being essential until they get cancer or some disease.
Maybe if all the obese slobs put down the soda that they sexually abuse day in and day out and eat some produce they wouldn’t be so fat and maybe live to see 30 without having a disease.
You can lose just as much fat doing cardio every morning than you can doing the atkins diet( I do mean fat,not just water weight).

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’

You bring up Asians diets, but for most of the Asians I know who moved here and kept eating the same diet (American versions), they blew up and got fatter then they’d ever been.

I think our problem is how over-processed our foods are compared to other countries.[/quote]

[quote]marza wrote:

I honestly think it’s a variable thing -some people just respond better to different ways of eating.

Martha

[/quote]

I think this gets to the heart of the matter. We are not all the same, so there is no real way to say that one style of eating is the end-all-be-all of diets. The key is to try different things, find what works best for you, and go with that.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’

You bring up Asians diets, but for most of the Asians I know who moved here and kept eating the same diet (American versions), they blew up and got fatter then they’d ever been.

I think our problem is how over-processed our foods are compared to other countries.[/quote]

Uh-yah, my point exactly. Hence the snickers bar/soda reference. And most Asians who came here and tried to simulate their diet were still sucked in to the American way in many other ways, not the least of which they weren’t spending 12 hours a day in the fields.

[quote]marza wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’

Just as a datapoint - I was fat all my life, not the way kids are now, but always on the fat end of the spectrum for my age group. I’d do low fat diets and exercise fanatically, be constantly hungry and unable to think of anything but when my next meal, of rice cake and chicken breast would be, be unable to maintain it and rebound fatter. I finally came to the conclusion diets didn’t work, because no matter what I did, I couldn’t maintain a weight loss.

When there was the resurgence of interest in Atkins I tried it out - mostly to prove to myself that it didn’t really work and the hype was just that. I ate tons of low carb veggies and moderate amounts of the lower carb fruits, adequate protein (although not as much as I eat now) and fat for the rest of my calories. After 2 months of eating that way, I realized this is the way I need to eat for the rest of my life. Not only did I lose weight, but I wasn’t sleepy in the afternoons, I had energy, I didn’t have gas, and my rosacea got better. I’ve tried adding carbier foods in, but it inevitably, for me, leads to carb creep and I go back to cutting them out.

I’ve had no problem sticking to low carb for the 5 years since. I love the way I eat and I feel sorry for the people who feel like they can’t have butter or steak. I’m not as thin as I’d like to be, but I think I definitely qualify as a trained up chubby chick (senior division), I’d rate my health as excellent (and my doctor agrees) and my brain hasn’t shrivelled up from the diminished stream of carbs.

I honestly think it’s a variable thing -some people just respond better to different ways of eating.

Martha

[/quote]

The point being–you are eating carbs. And it seems like a steady stream of them. So, it seems like you want to disagree with me, yet you back up my point.?

And when you ‘carb creeped??’ did you just add carbs and forget to back off butter or steak, because quite obviously if you do nothing else besides add calories, it will impact your weight.

[quote]Cthulhu wrote:
So why should we avoid all carbs?
[/quote]

I’m still waiting for someone to point me to where someone has advocated the avoidance of all carbs. Not even the lowest of low carbers around here are saying this. The Anabolic Diet thread for instance is crawling with recommendations for veggies galore and plenty of fruit on carb days for all the good reasons people are citing here. This is a straw man argument near as I can tell. You already know I share your view that this country in particular is committing community suicide.

–Tiribulus->

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
SWR-1240 wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
What about discussing diets and overall health? Med. and Asian diets have been much higher in carbs and fat and their lifespan has usually been longer and their waistlines thinner. Why is everyone afraid of a carb? Because we here in America only know the carb as a candy bar and a soda.

Low carb diets are bogus in my opinion. They lead to much bigger rebound weight/fat gain and are not as apt to be carried out for a lifetime. Moderation and education are they key. Not deprivation.

Everyone loves them though because of the quick initial results. Once again, typical American response. Cutting the wrong carbs is essential for ultimate health, but eating a potato, oatmeal, any fruit or vegetable is not only healthful, in my mind it is ‘essential.’

You bring up Asians diets, but for most of the Asians I know who moved here and kept eating the same diet (American versions), they blew up and got fatter then they’d ever been.

I think our problem is how over-processed our foods are compared to other countries.

Uh-yah, my point exactly. Hence the snickers bar/soda reference. And most Asians who came here and tried to simulate their diet were still sucked in to the American way in many other ways, not the least of which they weren’t spending 12 hours a day in the fields.[/quote]

No, the point I was making is that they’re eating the same foods, as in rice, sushi, fried fish (but fried in different oils) etc, as opposed to the snickers/soda and other
“junk food”, but our versions of that same food that they were already eating before, are more processed.

Of course, there are more factors too.

Unless you want to change the meaning of medical terms, carbohydrates aren’t actually essential.

However, as others have said, while a low carb or zero carb diet can be very effective for highly overweight people (perhaps because they are predominantly insulin resistant) they don’t seem to be optimal for long term health… due to lack of fiber and certain nutrients.

I’m not as “anti” low carb diets as some are, and feel that all diets cause rebounds if you simply return to your previous eating habits after a short dietary intervention. If you wanted to do low or zero (effective) carbohydrates and took good multis and supplemented fiber, I wouldn’t be a nutrition nazi about it.

I’m not saying all of the people on here do.
I’m talking about in general.

The no carb fad diets out there and how everyone thinks carbs are evil.I had a kid,who must of been no older than 18,come up to me and ask me what is the best way to lose weight.He told me that he was starting a no carb diet and that he starting buying all the low carb bars,milk,and processed food to "kick start his weight loss program.

I asked him if he knew why he was fat.
He said,“It’s the carbs.They made me fat.”
Yes,maybe all the soda( refined sugar) you drink.
But not carbs in general.
I thought of how much he was brain-washed by the diet industry.
I’m not talking about lower carb diets or cycling diets like the AD at all.

I remember the second the atkins diet hit the media.
Everyone and their fat mother was down at the store buying pork,ham,sausage,eggs,cheese,carb-free milk,carb-free frozen foods.

Packing all of those acid forming foods with no fiber intake and not even any green vegetables would be a nice way to set yourself up for colon cancer.
I think the AD diet is great for people who have diabetes.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Cthulhu wrote:
So why should we avoid all carbs?

I’m still waiting for someone to point me to where someone has advocated the avoidance of all carbs. Not even the lowest of low carbers around here are saying this. The Anabolic Diet thread for instance is crawling with recommendations for veggies galore and plenty of fruit on carb days for all the good reasons people are citing here. This is a straw man argument near as I can tell. You already know I share your view that this country in particular is committing community suicide.

–Tiribulus->

[/quote]

essential carbs? lol

how about the fact that carbs are nutrients, and by going by the simple definition of nutrient, there lies the answer.

People, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Carbs have been around for eons (sp), white bread, sodas, etc are only recent. You make the call.

[quote]Hennes wrote:

But I question that your body can function without any carbs. For example, there is the pentose phosphate pathway, which among other things is involved in steroid synthesis. Or the cytric acid cycle, which is associated to fat metabolism and protein catabolism.

[/quote]

The mamifere (human) body can function very well on little or no carbohydrates. Best examples would be all carnivores. Amino and fatty acids provide the organism as well with structure building blocks as with energy.

On the other hand a carbohydrate free diet is quite impossible even for carnivores given that meat contains glycogen.

Steroids are synthesized from acetyl-CoA or from ingested cholesterol.

[quote]Cthulhu wrote:
I’m not saying all of the people on here do.
I’m talking about in general.

The no carb fad diets out there and how everyone thinks carbs are evil.I had a kid,who must of been no older than 18,come up to me and ask me what is the best way to lose weight.He told me that he was starting a no carb diet and that he starting buying all the low carb bars,milk,and processed food to "kick start his weight loss program.

I asked him if he knew why he was fat.
He said,“It’s the carbs.They made me fat.”
Yes,maybe all the soda( refined sugar) you drink.
But not carbs in general.
I thought of how much he was brain-washed by the diet industry.
I’m not talking about lower carb diets or cycling diets like the AD at all.

I remember the second the atkins diet hit the media.
Everyone and their fat mother was down at the store buying pork,ham,sausage,eggs,cheese,carb-free milk,carb-free frozen foods.

Packing all of those acid forming foods with no fiber intake and not even any green vegetables would be a nice way to set yourself up for colon cancer.
I think the AD diet is great for people who have diabetes.
[/quote]

Fair enough. I can’t find much to disagree with in this statement. For the record I consider quality carbohydrates to be not only and just good food, but a vital part of my overall diet. Further I’m quite skeptical when it comes to “low carb” versions of normally carb rich foods. They just don’t sit right with me.

Any of the low carb diet aid shit is totally off limits in my book. You know what’s really messed up? You have to work extra hard to find food that someone hasn’t worked extra hard to ruin anymore. With the exception of a relatively few supplements the closer a food is to it’s naturally occurring state the better as far as I’m concerned.

  On the other hand of all of this though, fat has gotten a totally undeserved bad wrap as well. Even saturated fat. I can't wait for Cassandra Forsythe and crew to finish their year long study which I'll bet a weeks pay winds up demonstrating that saturated fat in anything like sane quantities is not only not deleterious in any way, but actually healthy.

There’s already growing evidence that the dreaded LDL levels are no reliable indicator of heart disease.

–Tiribulus->

You’re right.
I don’t believe ANY nutrient is evil.Not even saturated fat.
In fact,saturated fat is good for you.
The FDA states that “diets low in cholesterol and saturated fat” lowers your risk of heart disease.
But,there is a catch.Cholesterol in food doesn’t make your cholesterol levels go up.
This only happens when your arteries are damaged.
Cholesterol medication is the BIGGEST money making scam.
Even the drug companies themselves state that cholesterol medication won’t lower the risk of heart disease.Maybe they need to state that their drugs cause heart disease and not saturated fat.
Fat has got a bad rap over the past 20 years.
This is what happens when people don’t learn to decide for themselves and have the FDA make choices for them.
Remember when they said the egg was bad for you because of it’s cholesterol and saturated fat content?
With reserch DR. Eric berg(a friend of mine) is doing,and based on what is being researched,it actually lowers your cholesterol.
Saturated fat and cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease.
We’ve lived off of red meat for thousands of years.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Cthulhu wrote:
I’m not saying all of the people on here do.
I’m talking about in general.

The no carb fad diets out there and how everyone thinks carbs are evil.I had a kid,who must of been no older than 18,come up to me and ask me what is the best way to lose weight.He told me that he was starting a no carb diet and that he starting buying all the low carb bars,milk,and processed food to "kick start his weight loss program.

I asked him if he knew why he was fat.
He said,“It’s the carbs.They made me fat.”
Yes,maybe all the soda( refined sugar) you drink.
But not carbs in general.
I thought of how much he was brain-washed by the diet industry.
I’m not talking about lower carb diets or cycling diets like the AD at all.

I remember the second the atkins diet hit the media.
Everyone and their fat mother was down at the store buying pork,ham,sausage,eggs,cheese,carb-free milk,carb-free frozen foods.

Packing all of those acid forming foods with no fiber intake and not even any green vegetables would be a nice way to set yourself up for colon cancer.
I think the AD diet is great for people who have diabetes.

Fair enough. I can’t find much to disagree with in this statement. For the record I consider quality carbohydrates to be not only and just good food, but a vital part of my overall diet. Further I’m quite skeptical when it comes to “low carb” versions of normally carb rich foods. They just don’t sit right with me.

Any of the low carb diet aid shit is totally off limits in my book. You know what’s really messed up? You have to work extra hard to find food that someone hasn’t worked extra hard to ruin anymore. With the exception of a relatively few supplements the closer a food is to it’s naturally occurring state the better as far as I’m concerned.

  On the other hand of all of this though, fat has gotten a totally undeserved bad wrap as well. Even saturated fat. I can't wait for Cassandra Forsythe and crew to finish their year long study which I'll bet a weeks pay winds up demonstrating that saturated fat in anything like sane quantities is not only not deleterious in any way, but actually healthy.

There’s already growing evidence that the dreaded LDL levels are no reliable indicator of heart disease.

–Tiribulus->[/quote]