Carb Intake – By Charles R Poliquin

Carbs, carbs, carbs

Fats used to be evil, now they have been justly rehabilitated.

In the U.S., polarization is the norm. Carbs are no exception. Some people claim that the quality does not matter as long as you watch your calories. In other words, a blender drink of Coca Cola, leftover pizza and a few Cadbury’s Turkish Delight is fine, as long as it fits your macros. On the other pole, carbs that were not around in the paleolithic era are downright evil. Those are obviously very different opinions, here is my take on carbs

  1. You need to deserve your carbs. How many grams of carbs you can afford will be determined by levels of muscle mass, volume and intensity of training, percentage of body fat and insulin sensitivity. Some people obviously need to restrict their carbs to 10 licks of a dried prune every six months, while some can indulge in using 1,000 to 1,500 grams
  2. Some people can get away with grains, some should stay away from them. A high quality food intolerance panel will help determine that. The BEST ONE AND THE ONLY ONE WORTH DOING being the ones offered by Cyrex labs.
  3. Carbs can be your friend or your enemy. Carbs should be consumed based on which effect you want to accomplish on your neurotransmitters and hormones. Circadian cycles should also be considered. For example, for most people, it is nearly impossible to fall asleep with low serotonin levels from a carb restricted diet.
  4. Some people can get lean on donuts and chocolate milk, true. They have skinfolds as thin as cellophane paper. However, when you look at their blood work, you won’t be impressed. For example, the silent levels of inflammation are staggering. Once the damage becomes symptomatic, it is too late.
  5. The goal of putting on large amounts of muscle mass is not always achievable with a strict Paleo regimen . For example, rice oligodextrins are certainly not paleo. And yet, they have been instrumental in the development of the athletes I have coached. As you may know, they are used in large quantities by cyclists, rowers, speed skaters, and bodybuilders to restore glycogen stores rapidly.
  6. Most of the studies on glycogen replenishment have no practical value as the training protocols are so wimpy that only very low levels of carbs are necessary to replenish energy stores. For example leg extensions for 5 sets of 12 at 50% are not exactly a quality workout, as opposed to doing 4 exercises : back squats, and dumbbell deadlifts, leg presses, lunges for 5 each of 6-12 R.M.
  7. Low quality carbs are a drain on your nutrient reserves. Zinc, manganese, magnesium, thiamine, to name a few, take a beating from poor quality carbohydrate sources such as donuts and Pop Tarts.
  8. Very high intakes of refined sugars have been shown to be suppressive to androgen production. Which of course, impedes your recovery ability. In other words, taken at the wrong time, refined carbohydrates are a castration agent