First off, what are carbohydrates anyway?
Carbohydrates are compounds (mostly sugars and starches) which are composed the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen elements.
There are simple carbohydrates - sugars, such as the ones found in candy, fruits and those very tasty baked goods. And then there are complex carbohydrates – starches found in foods like nuts, beans, certain vegetables and whole grains.
And although most already know that the simple carbs should be limited, science is startling to suggest that even our so-called “healthier” complex carbs should be watched as well. For the most part, veggies are usually fair game, but it’s those pesky grain-like items that we feel should be watched a bit more.
Are you “over carbin” it?
We probably get asked more about carbs than anything via email and on our site. It’s crazy! But it’s definitely a confusing topic.
And we’ll be the first to admit, the carb argument stirs up much debate within the health community simply because it goes against most of what we’ve all been told for so long.
Just look at our old food pyramid – can we say “grain heavy?”
Carbs are like religion – they come with a host of arguments, and everybody thinks they’re right!
There are some very important things to look at here my friends, so let’s start with our prehistoric past…
Our low carbohydrate history
Yup, we come from a pretty low-carb past.
Back in the day (way back), Mr. Caveman obviously had quite the appetite – lots to do in order to survive, and he didn’t have Wonder Bread or Dominos Pizza to get him through his day.
Climbing trees, running from lions, hunting buffalo, feeding Mrs. Caveman and the little ones – times were tough, and you can probably imagine how hungry this guy got!
So to fuel his ravenous appetite, he hunted for his meats, gathered his berries, nuts, root veggies, and various plants – all natural stuff.
You see, during this time, there weren’t many glucose-ready items outside of the few root veggies he was eating.
And with this obvious scarcity of sugar/grain-like items, Mr. Caveman had to stay on top of his hunting and gathering to stay alive!
He needed energy, and lots of it! And he got most of it from animal and plant sources.
No hunting = no food = no life. Simple as that…
This stage of history was purely about going out into the wild to find food and water – straight up caveman style!
Millions of years WITHOUT farming?
Farming is actually a pretty new concept when looking into the entire book of human history.
It has become quite apparent (for the most part) that a high protein, high fat diet was the prevailing way of life that our cave-dwelling ancestors had utilized for millions of years — around 2.5 to be somewhat approximate. Give or take a little…
Now let’s think about that for a second…
Millions of years surviving on a low sugar, NO BREAD diet, and we modern humans are scarfing down Doritos, refined junk breads, mass amounts of sugar, ice cream, spicy Cheetos, Hungry Man TV dinners, and pizza.
Something isn’t right here…
What happened to our natural diet?
What’s crazy is that some societies (prehistoric and modern) have, and still do exist on a very limited, and in some cases, nearly ZERO-carbohydrate diets! And many of these societies DON’T use farming practices for their food either.
We’d also like to note that 10,000 years is hardly enough time for the human body to evolve and adapt the proficient mechanisms (digestive tools) to handle farmed grains, as evolving takes a bit longer than that. Maybe another 30,000 years from now, it will be a different story, but as of right now, we’re still set up like our cave buddies from the past.
Modern day hunter-gatherers are a perfect example.
These tribes and societies include:
- The Dorobo of Kenya.
- The Aeta of South East Asia.
- The Awá of the Amazon
- The Hadza of Africa.
Now, not only do these people more than accurately demonstrate the ways in which humans are pretty much programmed to eat, they truly show how us Westerners (and other countries) are doing it all wrong!
On top of that, they’re not plagued with the same diseases that we’re facing. Sure, they definitely have their own problems, but heart disease, cancer, and diabetes doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue as it is for us big FAT Westerners.
Their carb intake is also WAY lower than ours these days – so there’s an obvious connection here.
Could it be that we’re just so saturated in such horrible junk food markets that we can’t see the big picture?
But hold on a second!
We’re not saying that you have to go out into the wild, start tracking and hunting your food, picking your berries, and spearing buffalo.
Let’s be realistic here…
All we’re driving at here is that the ways in which these people survive can really give us some clarity on how most people should be eating.
A diet high in vegetables and animal protein seems to be more in-line with where we’ve all come from.
And you know what else is cool?
You can do all of this out of the comfort of your nicely heated home nowadays – not a cave!
Just think about it…
Obviously, back in the day, Mr. Caveman didn’t have a “Whole Foods” or “Trader Joe’s” down the street to buy his grass-fed meats, his organic produce, or his wild fish.
Being that he was in a constant struggle to eat and thrive off of the land, he would often go long periods without eating.
So what happened to his energy?
Well, he had adapted proficient mechanisms for burning fuel – fat to be specific.
Hmmm, burning fat?
We come from a very “in-tune” past…
You see, when things changed in these beginning days, we adapted…
Following animals as the seasons changed, our ancestors found that eating loads of fat, and high-protein foods were (and still are) great sources of energy.
And the truth is that our genetics are still set-up to work in this manner. Our bodies prefer to burn fat for fuel, plain and simple. Our current addiction to high-carbohydrate foods is all relatively new when looking at where we’ve all come from.
Agriculture/farming has been around for about 10,000 years, and humans have been around for about 2.5 million years…
It’s prob safe to say that we’re still set up to work like our ancestors, as not much changes (genetically) in only 10,000 years.
Farming, although good in many ways, also has it’s downsides.
The real truth?
Modern humans eat too much! We’re not eating the right things! And we’re dying-off because of our horrible choices.
There is little requirement for carbohydrates in the diet
Yea, it’s kinda true.
And we know it sounds crazy, but the human body can actually get by with very little. And we’ve tested this little theory out on ourselves. About 3 years ago, we went full-on NO grains, and very limited sugar, and the results were pretty crazy!
- More energy
- Fat loss
- Mind clarity
- More muscle
The list goes on…
The bottom line with starchy carbohydrates in the diet is that a person can get by with pretty small amounts. And once regulated quite heavily, the body seems to get in-line with everything. This happens because once carbs are limited and blood sugar becomes somewhat normalized, there are going to be less and less sugar crashed and insulin spikes throughout the day, and this is GERAT for many reasons.
The body absolutely hates sugar crashing.
And we say ‘little requirement for carbohydrates’ with caution, as there are good holders of carbs and bad holders.
- Veggies = good carbs
- Breads and refined sugar = bad carbs
You see, we get the majority of our energy from our vegetables, and we feel as if more people should be going about their choices in the same manner.
Let’s really LOOK at this situation
Agriculture (farming in general), is responsible for raking in billions in revenue each year.
So it’s no mystery why certain government agencies recommend for us to consume so many servings of grains on a daily basis when they’re HUGE moneymakers!
Grain products make money, no two ways about it.
There are loads of sources out there regarding the carbohydrate topic, and our good buddy Robb Wolf is a great place to start.
Check him out here.
This dude is awesome!
And if you really want to see what this limited carb intake and Paleo diet is all about, he’s the guy to see. Hands down!
Also, if you wish to take a deeper look into experimenting with some new food ideas, as well as ways you can live a “grain free” lifestyle without feeling like you’re missing out on all the good stuff, definitely check out the Paleo Recipe Book!
Great ideas and recipes in that one for sure!
The take home message
Most people today are eating way too many carbohydrates, and it’s preventing them from hitting their health goals. On top of that, it’s keeping them from burning the fat the body truly wants to burn.
If you’re serious about losing weight, feeling better, and experimenting with your body a bit, you should test out gong low carb. People have been very successful in improving their health by taking such actions.
And just to note here, we’re NOT 100% Paleo, or grain-free, as we’re more inline with just eating REAL food and keeping our grain intake very low. Our take on all of this food business is SIMPLICITY. The more natural and pure one’s food choices are, the better their health can be.
So are carbs bad?
But their intake must be watched accordingly if people are to hit their health goals.
That’s all we have for this one my friends.
And make sure to grab your FREE copy of our eBook Supermarket Domination by clicking here if you haven’t picked that up yet
Ohhh, and before taking off, check this out too!
- Joey and Chris
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net