Which got me thinking. One of the things that was covered at both lectures on insulin and diet was the scary statistic about how much more sugar we've been eating over the last 300 years. I wondered if there was the same data for carbs, and if so, why that wasn't included in the presentations. Here's what I found...
basically this is from 1909-1997, the black dots are the total carbs consumed, the black bars are what percent of those total carbs were carbs from fiber
You can see, that the scary statistic about our body being able to handle about 60-80g of net carbs per day and the average american eating 300-800g of carbs isn't quite so scary when you look at this chart. Or, maybe it is... depends on how you look at it.
The part that makes this chart reassuring is it seems to say, it's not the total carb part of the equation that is the end all be all of the argument. People didn't have diabetes and obesity and infertility rates like we do now in 1909 and they still ate way more than 60-80g of carbs per day.
But, the part that makes this chart scary is how much whole grains and high fiber carbs they were getting vs. our dismally low levels now. If you look at 1909 the percent of carbs that were fiber was way higher.
So, what do I take away from this PLUS the last 4 days of changing my family's diet?
I think we all eat WAAAAY more carbs then we every imagine. I considered my diet to be above average and in line with the healthy eaters of America, and yet once I started to focus on decreasing carbs I realized how much of the low fat, high carbs mentality I had (even though I eat all whole fat dairy and don't use low fat crap, cook with butter, etc. there was still a ton of room for change). We were eating fruit, whole grains, and enough random granola bars, crackers with cheese, and whole grain bread to really wrack up the grams, plus the mindless consumption of sugar... dried fruit, kefir, yogurt, a glass of juice a day, some sweet dessert... you get the idea. We really were eating a lot of healthy foods, PLUS a lot of sugar and mindless carbs.
I also realized how hungry we always were and how we just kept eating more and more... bigger portions, 2nd helpings, frequent snacks. And how our idea of a portion of carbs in particular got really out of control.
And the hungry thing I totally see as linked to the body pumping out insulin all day long because of the constant stream of sugar in the blood. And that I feel is worth a period of decreasing the carbs (not to a crazy low level like some diets suggest), but low enough and long enough to let my body get used to it and stop feeling like the other way is the norm.
The carbs I get from dairy, complex carbs, and fruit I'm limiting to 6og or less per day
I am not counting any carbs from any veggies (except the starchy ones like sweet potatoes)
I am not counting one glass of red wine per day
I am actually eating a fair amount of fruits and grains, but the serving size is WAY smaller to keep the carb total down.
I'm finally starting to feel full and not hungry all the time, and I'm guessing (because I had a pretty healthy diet in other ways) I'm getting off on the lucky side of things. My husband, who has more blood sugar issues is still feeling like he's starving with these changes. My kids do fine the first half of the day, then start begging for sugary foods like more fruit the second half of the day.
Here's what I ate today:
Breakfast: 1/4 cp full fat vanilla yogurt, 1 T peanut butter and a dozen rasperries in a parfait plus 1 soft boiled egg and some tea
Snack: walnuts, water
Lunch: Small piece of ham, mashed cauliflower with cheese and butter, steamed broccoli with butter S&P, 1/2 cp whole milk
Snack: Kombucha, a 1 1/2 inch cube of gorgonzola cheese and some carrots and cauliflower
Dinner: a small piece of ham, a bunch of oil&vinegar coleslaw (with carrots, red onion), some honeydew melon, 1/2 cup of red wine, water
After dinner snack: walnuts, a blob of goat cheese and 1/4 cup strawberries
bedtime: tea with half and half
I don't feel like I'm eating a boatload of fat, but I feel like I'm eating what I do eat with joy and feel good about having small portions of things like cheese and meat and butter. I'm by far eating more veggies and instead of just mindlessly grazing or throwing in something with a bunch of carbs, I'm still having fruit, but it's just smaller portions.
8 different veggies (all fairly big servings)
3 fruits (just smaller portions)
yummy dairy (small portions)
some good nuts & meats
That doesn't seem like some crazy diet to me, it just seems like mindful, healthy, get my body on track with the cravings for sugar and simple carbs.
In 6-8 weeks I'll start allowing myself a little more leeway with introducing some truly whole, naturally occurring grains back in the mix and of course, I'm not going to be a crazy person when I'm traveling or we are eating with others (outside our home). But I'm still excited about this and it feels like it makes sense!
One final thought, the thing I keep coming back to is that statistic on 50-70% of americans being OBESE by 2030. I know 50-70% of Americans are not eating what they would consider to be a terrible diet, so it's worth changing things up.
The more I read, the more the carb/fat debate seems to be a hot button issue, but I feel like if I'm doing this with common sense, critical thinking and while listening to our bodies, this doesn't have to be a "which camp are you in" thing, but rather a shift towards good, real foods and mindful eating on a new level!