There is a lot of talk about carbohydrates (carbs) going on in the world today. Everyone has an opinion about carbs. I have one, undoubtedly you have one, too. When you have type 2 diabetes you hear a lot of conflicting information about carbs.
Every health and exercise and diet guru out there has an opinion about carbs. In this article, I hope to show you why I don’t think carbs are the enemy and that if we eliminate carbs (or drastically reduce carbs) from our diets we are headed for danger in the long run.
I want to say right up front, again, I am not a doctor or medical person at all. What I write is often my opinion or what has worked for me. It is also the results of research and study on these topics. One article on carbs will not even begin to scratch the surface, so there will be periodic articles about carbs. This is the first of many.
Our bodies were made to use carbs
It always amazes me when people tell me that they have totally cut carbs from their diet.
I tried to eliminate them from my diet. I really did. I had all the Keto cookbooks and lists and foods I could eat and should NEVER eat and could eat on occasion if the sun was in the right spot in the sky and the moon was aligned with Jupiter.
It wasn’t quite that bad, but you get the idea.
Our bodies were made to use carbs as fuel. True, if we cut them out of our diet or seriously decrease them, our bodies will resort to burning our fat stores as fuel, but, let’s face it, eventually, we will run out of fat stores to burn. Then we have to go back to eating carbs.
If we did not learn how to manage and use carbs in the first place, when we go back to eating them, we are bound to fail.
Let me repeat that: If we did not learn how to manage and use carbs in the first place when we go back to eating them, we are bound to fail!
No one wants to fail, well, at least most of us do not want to fail. We work hard and want to succeed, but if we are told that carbs are the enemy of good health, how on earth are we going to succeed?
There is a reason the Standard American Diet is SAD
You know there is something wrong if your diet is part of the SAD diet. The Standard American Diet has been the undoing of many people. Our diet is filled with highly processed foods. Our diet is filled with carbs, but they are the “wrong” kind.
When the SAD way of eating is introduced to countries where obesity or other health problems related to being overweight were not present, within a matter of years, that country begins to have the same problems as we Americans do. Their people get sick and fat and tired. They start to develop type 2 diabetes. They start to have heart disease. I’m not just saying this because I “think” it is true.
In Michael Pollan’s excellent book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” copyright 2009, Pollan talks about what the SAD diet is and how it has affected people all over the world once this detrimental way of eating is introduced.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the SAD way of eating has been taking over our world for far too long. Perhaps illnesses such as COVID-19 would not even be as bad were it not for the prevalence of the SAD way of eating worldwide! I don’t think I am too far off base with this way of thinking.
But what does all of this have to do with carbs? Well, read on!
If carbs are NOT the enemy, then what is?
There are really two big things in the food realm that I like to blame for my obesity. They are:
- Processed foods
Processed foods serve a purpose I am sure. I mean, we wouldn’t have many of the foods we enjoy were it not for processing and preserving and all those other wonderful “p” words. However, processed foods really don’t do us a lot of favors when it comes to our health.
Overeating is the other big one for me. It goes hand in hand with processed foods because those are typically the foods that I overeat.
When I was a kid and teenager and even a young adult, I could eat whatever I wanted and I never seemed to gain weight. I grew up on a farm and we worked hard. I could eat half a loaf of toasted bread with half a pound of butter every day after school and never gain an ounce. But once I was employed in a job where I sat a lot, the pounds started to pack on. Slowly at first, but later faster and faster.
Another enemy of good health is inactivity
When I was active in my younger years, I could eat more because I was burning calories like a steam engine. But a simple shift in my work and no adjustment to my food intake caused major problems for me. By the time I was 31 I was nearly 200 pounds. But the time I was 40 I was closer to 300.
I can attribute much of the weight gain to little or diminished activity.
The new normal
This has been a very brief overview of why I feel carbs are not the enemy. I will dig deeper into this topic in a future article. For now, let’s look at how my blood sugar readings were today.
I woke with a fasting blood sugar of 205. As I may have mentioned, my doctor would like to see me in the 80-130 range so I have a way to go. Throughout the day today, I tested multiple times and had no readings over 300 although my pre-bedtime reading was 295.
Due to a hectic schedule for work today I was unable to do my walk. I still got in 2373 steps, but that was short of my goal of 6000.
For my meals today, breakfast was the same as yesterday and was 707 calories.
Lunch was a chopped salad kit Thai ‘n’ cashews for 455 calories.
I was hungry a short time after eating and had a handful of cashews and a small box of raisins for a snack. That was 310 calories.
For supper, I had two pieces (about 10 ounces) of rotisserie chicken dark meat and a can of asparagus. That accounted for another 630 calories.
For a bedtime snack, I had 2 pieces of string cheese for another 160 calories.
Each day that I strive to do better is a day of success for me. Let’s encourage each other in our goals and in our motivations to get healthier.
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About the author
Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 25 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 13 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.