Sunday, October 7, 2007

Are Carbs the Problem?

I've always taken a common sense approach to my diet, no one had to tell me how to lose with all the diet philosophies out there right now the "carb" controversy seems to be the most popular. Everyone wants to blame carbs for their overweightness, or their inability to lose weight faster, once they start a diet. "I ate too many carbs " is often the defense, the excuse, "It's the carbs"!

It must be, LOL! It couldn't be that they're just eating too much, that would mean taking responsiblity for overfeeding their face!

I confess I get caught up in it too! But I believe...bottom line, if you need to lose weight you need to start by,

Stop eating so much food, all types of food, not just carbs.

Add in the fresh live foods...veggies (as much as you want) and fruits.

I'm not saying that learning what types of foods work better, for your own personal body, to feel and perform, it's best isn't valid, I'm just suggesting that you take a look at the ratios of carbs, to ptotien, to fat, to live fresh foods, in your diet first. This is what I mean;

Carbs are often eaten in disproportion to healthier (live) foods. When we think of carbs, first and most often, we think of breads, pastas, potatoes, rice, etc. So let's take bread as our first example.

First off, bread has a ton of calories! One slice of sandwich bread has roughly 100 calories, that means if you eat a sandwich w/2 slices you're already up to 200 calories and you haven't even put anything in it yet! And that's "normal" sandwich bread...not a french roll. Now add in protein (meat), at least 4 oz., there's 200 cal., a slice of cheese (100 cal.), now we're up to 500 cal., let's not forget the tbl. of mayo (at least...have you ever measured out a tbl. of mayo?)... maybe we put on a leaf of iceberg lettuce, and a slice of tomato (but probably not. if we're making it ourselves...that takes too much time, and we probably don't have any fresh veggies in the fridge anyway!)

So we're up to 600 cal. and it's all carb/protein/fat.....where's the veggies? Where is the live healthy food? Now we add in our "side" which is what? Potato/corn chips? Potato/pasta salad? Granola bar? Cookie? OK some of us might actually include an apple or carrot sticks (yea right, lol).

My point is, being a self proclaimed "vegetable snob", that my sandwich (if I were having one) would be...2 slices of thin sandwich bread (140 cal.), maybe as much as 4oz. meat (200 cal.)...but 1 whole can of tuna w/1tbl. mayo, has 250 cal., and that's alot of food...I would probably skip any cheese...and then I would have to put at least a huge wad of sprouts (tossed with a little low cal Italian dressing 35 cal.), thick slabs of tomato, a few peppers, maybe sliced onion, mustard and maybe for a treat, if I were using turkey especially, sliced avocado. I also find that toasting the bread adds flavor and body to the "mouth feel" of a sandwich.

So my sandwich would be under 400 calories, twice as big and twice as nutritious (I'm guessing. lol). Did I make my point? What do you think?

So what are some other ways we eat carbs? When we have a bagel....cream cheese?...were's the veggie? Pasta.....jarred tomato sauce (if you're lucky), jarred alfredo/cream sauce?...meat, cheese...where's the veggie? Potatoes, most of us consider this as the vegetable, and then add, butter/cream/cheese/salt etc...where's the real veggie? Rice, usually a side dish, served with a protein (main dish) and a measley portion of ...what?...steamed broccoli...maybe a small side salad? I don't know I'm asking. lol!

Enough said for now, I've got a 8:00am yoga class to get to right now!

I'll be back later to continue....

1:00pm....I decided to make myself a sandwich! The picture above is my actual lunch today, although I only ate 1/2 the sandwich, I used 2 large tomatoes (1 red, 1 orange) and the marinated peppers/pickles/mushrooms to make a salad. Only 1/2 of the apple is pictured, the other 1/2 also went into the salad.

Ezekiel bread 160 cal.
2oz organic roast beef 90 cal.
sprouts/tomato/hot pickeles/red onion 0 cal.
mustard 10 cal.
large organic fuji apple 120 cal.
marinated peppers/mushrooms 60 cal.

440 total calories


Royce said...

I agree completely about the too much food thing. My dad always said it's easy to loose weight as long as you do one special excersize. Push-aways. As in push yourself away from the table.

Low-carb is cool though, it's the only diet I've tried that will actuall allow me to gain strength while shedding weight. ( notice I said strength not muscle though )

Tracy Reifkind said...


Love the "pushaway" exercise!

I want to continue this discussion, because I'm not saying that it doesn't work to some degree, but how do you define "work"?

I define "work" as a way of eating....EVERY MEAL....EVERYDAY.....FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE....WHY? MAINTAIN a heathly weight and body, for the rest of your life!

I'll continue on when I have more time.

Franz Snideman said...

Well Said Tracy. If people were to eat more live fresh food they wouldn't gain weight, in fact they would lose fat. It's hard to gain weight on celery, spinach, salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad, broccoli and aspargus.

Royce, that too works. Push yourself away from the table. Or as Clarence Bass says in his books, only eat what is on your plate. Don't go back for 2nd helpings!

Royce said...

For me Tracy Low Carb is a pretty easy maintenance diet. I love meat and cheese. I could live on meat and cheese. There is an even easier version where you split your carbs and protien up during the week called the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. Good low calorie low carb meals through the week and a beer an pizza on the wekend.
Much easier socially to maintain.

BUT, I have to totally, TOTALLY, agree with you. The best "diet" ( insert nutritional plan instead of diet ) is the one you will stick too.

Same thing with excersize. KB's are best for overall S&C but not everyone will stick to it.

i really don't want to come off like I'm giving you diet advice though. You have so totally kicked my ass on loosing and keeping the weight off.

My problem right now is alcohol, wich is an entirely different subject........

Jennifer said...

I think I slightly miscommunicated. I agree that ultimately the actual number of calories is what counts. My question pertained more to amount of protein required to build and maintain your muscle mass. I guess as I look at your entries, it only seems like you're getting a bit less than a hundred grams of protein per day. Do you think that is accurate, because whatever amount it is, it obviously works for you.
Thanks for the post!

Mark Reifkind said...


after YEARS of bodybuilding and powerlifting and taking in and 'counting' only complete amino acid proteins as 'real'when I switched to the warrior diet and eating very little ( relatively) amounts of protein I was surprised how well my muscle mass and strength stayed just fine.
I think if you are trying for actual muscle hypertrophy and increases in lean body mass then, yes, one needs larger amounts of protein,especially throughout the day. BUT if one is focused on strength and tone( which is tension levels ) which is more about activation of what you have rather than getting more, then less protein is fine.
As long as the veggies and fats are adequate.THis is just my opinion and experience so take it with a grain of salt. Obviously it is also working for Tracy.
So much of protein intake is in how you count it. Brocolli and spinach and almond have large amounts of incomplete protein, how does one count it compared to meat, or milk or cheese>
especially when one combines them?
Just like with total amounts of food, the WD has really shown me just how little protein one needs for strength and health.


Bill Fox said...

Agree with Mark

I've had no loss of muscle mass while eating way less total food. I do think the blood sugar flattening effect of low carb, or at last lowish carb, helps people eat less. In the end it's calories, but lowering carbs seems to help people get to lowering calories.

D.C. Maxwell's formula is still the best. Look in the mirror. If you don't look as lean as you want to you're eating too much.

Mark Reifkind said...

agreed Bill, if the mirror doesnt look right or the clothes dont fit, then you need less food,period.

Tracy Reifkind said...


No miscommunication...I haven't gotten to the part of discussing the protein in my diet yet!

I wanted to open with portions and then the breakdown of nutrients in proportion to overall volume of food....this post is a work in progress,lol.

I will get into more detail of my protein intake, because I think it's important...I just felt I needed to start with carbs.

Tracy Reifkind said...


It never crossed my mind that you were giving me advice, besides, all comments have potential to spark inspiration, and/or reflection, as well as give solid advice, and/or share information.

Consistency in heathly eating, no matter what "style" of dieting, consistency in training, no matter what tool you use, is what's most important.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I do agree with the word "lowish", and my point of the post is that people just eat carbs in disproportion, therefore taking in way too many calories....which leads to extra weight.

Although the WD doesnt' work for me 100%, it is a style of eating I fall back on again and again, maybe because it gives me structure at times I start to stray.

Royce said...

I think you hit on another key point Tracy. Wether it be WD. Low Carb, Southbeach, Zone or whatever. People need structure. Or at least I do when it comes to food.

Lauren Brooks said...

I don't necessarily believe in a "low carb" diet. Tons of veggies, fruits, lean proteins, raw nuts, and a small amount of grains for ex Quinoa is the basis of my diet. I have noticed with myself that keeping most grains and some legumes out of the equation I don't go through yo yo's throughout the day. I am in much more control with my foods because my energy is more stable. Also I don't get bloated. If I were to recommend a bread it would most defnitely be Ezekiel or a sprouted grain bread. What you are doing clearly works for you. I am just voicing what has been working for me. But I know we are all in agreement if we eat more than we need than weight gain will happen. And carbs are not necessarily the enemy. Especially carbs from Organic vegetables and fruits.

Lauren Brooks said...

One more thing I forgot to mention. Your activity level is extremely high. You are a machine! You can probably get away with more starchy type carbs than most people. I would guess with your intense workout sessions that you burn a crazy amount of carbs and at least 500 calories if not sometimes 1000.

Colette said...

One nice thing is people are finally getting the message that it's not ALL carbs that are the's the processed crap. I like seeing all the health and fitness books/show/mags telling you it is okay to eat whole grains, vegies, fruit. Finally some common sense ;)

That sandwich looks way to yummy

Tracy Reifkind said...


I know there's more "science" involved in food combinations and the time of day carbs are consumed, etc...and all can be valid in individual cases, of course.

grinning.chick said...

Have you picked up Taube's new book? Just curious what you thought if you had.

Frank Castiglione said...

Thanks for covering the carb issue! It's always something that my clients are confused about. America is really carbophobic.

I personally feel that carbs are an essential part of the human diet; they are our body's preferred source of fuel and should be eaten in some quantity (for me, it probably constitutes between 40-50 percent of my diet. I think the problem is with high-glycemic carbs, which are typically found in refined foods containing white flour.