As much as I’ve always harped on controlling carbohydrates, I am in fact an omnivore. However, in the back of my mind, I’m aware of carbohydrates, and the only liquids I drink besides water is beer, wine and a little bit of milk. My refined carbohydrate intake is low as I don’t snack on any refined carbohydrate products. When I do snack it’s on a small handful of nuts or baby carrots. The chewing and crunching are satisfying. I find that most times I want to snack, I’m not really that hungry.
Some days I have a very low intake of carbohydrates, under 100 grams, and on rare occasions under 50. My wife does not cook low carb, but it’s still easy to get by. Some days meals are low in carbohydrates just as she cooks them. Just as God has provided a Natural Law to guide our conscience in the moral world, so is there a Natural Law of eating. We mostly know what is good or bad for us. Mountain Dew or Pizza? Potato Chips or a sweet potato? All these are carbohydrates but not all are equal. But most adults know which is better. A good general guide for food consumption is that if you see the food advertised on TV, don’t eat it. This would eliminate the consumption of most chips and sodas.
I instinctively cycle my diet and exercise. Some days I ride my mountain bike to work. Some days I walk the two miles home. On days following relatively high carbohydrate consumption, I may have a really tough workout, or I may skip breakfast, or I may restrict carbohydrates. You see the pattern. Carbohydrates have their place. They give us a powerful fuel, but like a car burning nitrous oxide, their over utilization can damage our engine. Another trick I use is avoiding pure carbohydrate meals. For instance, on pasta I almost always have meat sauce and olive oil. With pizza, I’ll put a little olive oil on it, and maybe some slices of avocado. Studies show that mixing a little protein or fat with carbohydrates prevents damaging insulin spikes.
And just as in the moral world, dogmatism is not needed unless there is a virtual emergency of failing health. An extremely obese person would be wise to be slightly more strict in controlling what they eat. As they reach their goals, there’s a lot more room for small errors. Chronic abuse of our bodies for years or decades will of course require more strict and longstanding adherence to diet and exercise dogma. We must all pay the Piper, but it’s important for overweight or out of shape people to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are laws in effect that everyone’s bodies must obey. While diets like the Atkins Diet are a great way to attack obesity, I do not think they are sustainable. But remember, extreme times require extreme measures. We call in SEAL Team 6 to capture or kill deadly terrorists, not arrest the 19 year old shoplifter at the mall. Most times the local constabulary is enough.