Q&A: Low carb eating


The Question:

I want to ask you about low carb eating because this way of eating suits neither my natural preferences nor my budget.  I am naturally much more drawn to grains and pulses.  I’m not a vegetarian but I eat only small amounts of meat and fish. I find that a diet high in meat or fish protein and low in grain carbohydrates leaves me feeling hungry very shortly after a meal. I wonder if it is because I exercise every week, two and a half hours of aerobic exercise and an hour of weight training, so I need a high carb diet for energy.

When I first read your book I felt that you encouraged readers to make a free choice about what constitutes healthy eating. Yet I feel you are promoting your own preference for a low carb way of eating, so now I feel a degree of confusion. I ask myself are my own choices for healthy eating therefore wrong?

My Answer:

First of all, there’s a bit of a problem in the common use of the term ‘carbohydrates’, which many people use to mean ‘starchy carbohydrates’: grains and root vegetables such as potatoes. All vegetables and fruit contain carbohydrates, and as these compose the bulk of my food, I don’t eat a low carb diet.

Some people do better than others with a higher proportion of starchy carbohydrates in general, and grains in particular. To figure this out, instead of relying on your desires and preferences (which are likely to be heavily influenced by addictive thinking) look at how you feel after eating: alert and full of energy – or tired, anxious and depressed? If you try out different types of food, your body will give you the feedback.

It seems that you are alert and full of energy, so I’d agree with you that you are eating what suits you. It sounds like you feel good after eating a meal. Many people don’t. And for someone who does a lot of exercise, higher carbohydrate consumption is certainly recommended.

That said, vegetables and fruit have a nutrient density unmatched by almost anything else, being especially superior to grains. Whether sensitive to grains or not, it’s a good idea for most people to decrease consumption. Many readers of EATING LESS will have the question, “What do I eat less of?” and most often it’s grains, potatoes and sugars (i.e. starchy carbs) because these tend to be the most addictive and therefore overeaten. 


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