How many carbs a day are needed to stay healthy?

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How many carbs a day are needed to stay healthy?

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Old 11-01-2015, 16:55   #1
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Default How many carbs a day are needed to stay healthy?

I am just starting out on lowering my carbs and I'm trying to stay around 50 per day. I have a couple questions. Aren't carbs needed for energy? So how many are needed per day to stay healthy? I have heard of people eating no breads, pastas, starch, etc. and I'm wondering how low on carbs would be too low.

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Old 11-01-2015, 17:12   #2
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Carbs and fats are the main sources of energy. Protein is a lesser source. Your body does need glucose, but that doesn't mean carbs. Glucose does get stored in muscle cells as glycogen for quick bursts, but the muscles cells use fats for endurance things. Even those eating high carb burn fats until the glycogen stores are replenished. The body has a mechanism for replenishing even in the absence of ingested carbs. I think the body burns glucose not as much as a preferred source of energy but because of a need to keep from building up toxic levels.

The wise old owl says 3 when asked how many bites to get to the center of a tootsie pop. I'd guess he'd say the same for carbs, but they are nonessential, not sure you can get to there, and I think zero is unattainable.

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Old 11-01-2015, 19:35   #3
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As mbuster says, the quantity of carbs the body needs to eat is ZERO. But also as he says, getting to zero is almost impossible - all we can do is avoid items that contain nothing but glucose. is offline  
Old 11-01-2015, 19:50   #4
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The real answer is none.

The practical answer we use here is "not more than 50 gm. per day.

No carbs are needed for humans to sustain life and remain healthy.

There is no such thing as "too low". (carbs)
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Old 11-02-2015, 00:28   #5
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I personally, even on insulin need to stay under 20 and I get them all from green veggies and green fruit (avocado). I love my veggies but still need to watch portions
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Old 11-02-2015, 03:41   #6
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There are very few forums where you would get a series of all correct answers like you just did! Take my word for it, this one's a keeper!

Answer: ZERO.

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Old 11-03-2015, 16:40   #7
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Originally Posted by RCG View Post
The real answer is none.

The practical answer we use here is "not more than 50 gm. per day.

No carbs are needed for humans to sustain life and remain healthy.

There is no such thing as "too low". (carbs)
I would say the practical answer is eat to your meter. Your BG levels (FBG, before a meal, 1 and 2 hours after the meal) will tell you when you are eating 'enough' and when you ate too much.

As your body converts to using fat as it's primary source of energy, eating too many carbs gets danged uncomfortable.

Oh, and in absence of ingested carbs, your body will convert some of the protein you ate to glycogen then to glucose. In absence of ingested protein, your body will convert some of the fat you ate to glycogen......

In absence of eating anything, your body will still find a way to keep glycogen stores high enough to sustain the cells that really, really need glucose. But, eventually, starving is not such a good idea.

We can assume those conversion mechanisms work properly for you (and me) because, frankly, we are still alive and have functioning brains.

PS I love veggies. I am glucose intolerant and the last time I tested, potatoes and rice cause my BG to drop dangerously low. So, no bread, no taters, lots of lovely green things.
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Old 11-03-2015, 23:11   #8
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The argument I've always heard is that you need some carbs to keep your brain running. But, here's the thing: the point of carbs is to break down into sugar, which can get into your bloodstream and provide energy to your brain.

I'm eating very few carbs, and my BG is still slightly higher than normal. I'd say there's no risk that my brain is going to starve because of a lack of glucose. My blood is FULL of it. I've got loads! I hardly need to take in carbs to make more.

My body is like an automobile factory where they've run out of lug nuts to attach the wheels. Auto production is falling disastrously, but the general manager keeps telling them to MAKE MORE WHEELS because everyone knows you can't make a car without wheels!

This doesn't do anything to fix the factory; it just makes the wheels pile up faster.

(I think the recommendation to eat a minimum of carbs is designed for people who are T1 and take insulin, and might indeed fall to disastrously low BG levels if they ate no carbs and didn't carefully manage their insulin. But as Dr. Bernstein has shown, eating fewer carbs and correcting with less insulin greatly reduces the risk of those dangerous lows.)

I asked this question on another forum, looking for the scientific rationale for the "50 g minimum per day" advice, and learned that there's no real scientific evidence that 50 g a day is necessary. (Why 50? Why not 75? Or 25? For whose body? Big male ones? Small female ones? ???)

I have never read any reason why I should take in more carbs (which turn into blood sugar) if I have HIGH blood sugar already.

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Old 11-03-2015, 23:33   #9
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The crux of this argument is that we don't need carbs to get glucose, so the next time you discuss it with anybody who insists we eat carbs, explain it to them in simple English. Our brains assuredly do NOT need carbs to function properly - what they need is a very small amount of GLUCOSE (5%). Our bodies are perfectly able to manufacture glucose from non-carb sources by the process of gluconeogenesis (look it up).

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Old 11-03-2015, 23:35   #10
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50 grams of carbs is a maximum below which *most* people will go into nutritional ketosis. It's a starting point from which we can begin to figure out what our own carb tolerances are by using our meters to test how various foods affect our blood glucose. There are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids (from protein) that we must get from our food. Everything else including glucose our bodies can make from these. So how many grams of carbohydrate do we actually need to eat? Zero. How many can we eat without raising our blood sugars higher than is safe? We each have to learn that about ourselves by eating to the meter.

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