In this post, I will discuss the benefits of a high carb diet.
There are lots of discussions going on about the topic of carbohydrates. Many people believe that eating carbohydrates make them fat and that they should avoid all kind of carbohydrates, both good carbs and bad carbs. So, in the case, even good carbs become a bad one. As a result, people miss the benefit of good carbs which actually can make them lose weight and healthier.
Or, there is a huge trend worldwide of low carb high fat diet such as a ketogenic diet to lose weight although many physicians and experts warn the long-term negative effects.
High carbohydrates diet or high starch diet is traditionally common in Asian countries such as Japan, where people are much thinner than people who consume more fat and fewer carbohydrates as calories source. By the way, I am a vegan and my main calorie source is rice and other carbohydrates. My BMI is 18.8, normal BMI.
From my understanding and observation, I see carbohydrates as the optimal primary energy source for the human body.
By the way, carbohydrates which I am talking about are not refined sugar which lost all good nutrition of nature. I am recommending carbohydrates from whole plant foods such as grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
- Why does a high carbohydrate diet suitable for the human body?
- What are the benefits of high carbohydrates low fat vegan diet?
- Additional notes about high carb low-fat vegan diet
Why does a high carbohydrate diet suitable for the human body?
Your teeth show it.
First of all, we can observe from our teeth, the fact that our body is suitable with meals centered around grains and vegetables. We have generally 32 teeth altogether, including 20 molar teeth which can crunch grains, 8 incisor teeth which is for vegetables, and 4 canine teeth.
It can tell you that our body matches a diet that consists of more than 63% grains such as rice, corn, and beans and 25% vegetables. How about canine teeth? As you can observe from herbivore animals such as gorilla, camel, and panda, interestingly they have very sharp canine teeth. Look at your teeth in a mirror. Our human canine teeth are almost degenerated, not sharp enough anymore for killing other animals. By the way, pandas are actually a carnivore but prefer to eat a vegan diet.
So, having canine teeth doesn’t mean you need to eat meat. But, why do these carnivore animals have canine teeth? Probably they have other purposes, maybe protecting themselves from threats by carnivore or ramp others? I am not sure about it.
Carbohydrates are the most efficient energy source.
Carl Lewis, the multiple gold medalist said, “In fact, my best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet.”. When he was on the diet, his function, performance, and feeling were the best without feeling hungry. He was following a high carb low-fat vegan diet.
People who believe the old protein myth think that they need lots of protein. Therefore they eat more animal protein which has a high amount of saturated fat. So, usually, their carbohydrates intake is very little comparing to total calories. That is very dangerous because high fat intake increases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
There are 3 main fuel sources for our body, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Among them, carbohydrates are primary and the most efficient source of energy. When you eat carbohydrates, they become glucose and are used as direct energy sources. If you eat excess carbohydrates, they are stored in a form of glycogen in your muscle. When you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, glycogen stored in your muscle is broken down to glucose and used as a fuel. Usually, if you have not enough glycogen in your muscle, your body feels fatigued.
Some cells in your body can only use carbohydrates.
Red blood cells can only use carbohydrates. Red blood cells play a role in carrying oxygen from the lung to all over the body and to get rid of carbon dioxide in the blood through the lung. Our body needs 170g carbohydrates daily. 30 g carbohydrates are used by red blood cells. 120-130g carbohydrates are used for the brain. Your brain prefers to use carbohydrates as an energy source more than protein or fat. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, it can cloud your judgment, or can make you lose focus.
How about fat and protein as energy sources?
Eating fat is like storing energy in boxes, sealing them tightly, and storing them in a warehouse. Your body can use fat as an energy source only when we don’t have any food around us. It is the physiological system with which humans can survive for several days when we can’t eat carbohydrates. However, it is very unlikely to experience the kind of situation for you if you are living in modern life.
Have you ever heard about Low carb high fat diet (LCHF) such as the Atkins diet and ketogenic diet?
An LCHF diet intends to lose weight by making the above-mentioned emergency environment of no carbohydrates, forcing your body to use fat as an energy source. The diet is very popular for people who want to lose weight quickly by eating more addictive substances, fat. By the way, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, fat acts like a hard drug, altering your brain to addicted to it.
But, how you can lose weight with consuming high fat? Because fat’s calories (9 kcal/g) is higher than carbohydrates one (4 kcal/g), you will eat much less in the high fat diet. So, of course, you lose weight. But, you are losing protein and water in your body, increasing cholesterol level and inflammation which is related to chronic diseases.
How about protein as an energy source? Protein is used as an energy source only when you are completely in starvation.
What are the benefits of high carbohydrates low fat vegan diet?
It can reduce the risk of heart disease.
When you eat an excessive amount of fatty animal products or dairy products constantly, you create plaques on the wall inside of the arteries. As a result, arteries are blocked and blood supply to the muscle is inhibited. That is heart disease.
When you routinely eat a high carbohydrate low fat diet, you don’t create plaque in the blood vessel. So, you are reducing the risk of heart disease.
It can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
When you keep eating excess amounts of fatty animal products, tiny particles of fat accumulate into cells. That causes insulin resistance, and glucose from the food you eat can’t get into cells. That is diabetes. By eating high carb and low fat vegan diet, you don’t get an accumulation of fat into your cells. So, you will not have insulin resistance. You are preventing type 2 diabetes.
It reduces the risk of colon cancer.
When you eat excessive amounts of animal products, carcinogenic chemicals in these foods hurt your colon cell, causing colorectal cancer.
Any animal products including meat, egg, and fish don’t contain carbohydrates (starch and fiber) at all but contain a lot of fat. By the way, dairy products contain lactose which is carbohydrate, but it causes lactose intolerance and other health problems.
If you eat daily whole plant-based high carb low fat diet, you are not taking carcinogenic chemicals from animal products. Also, a high carbohydrate diet with plant wholefoods contains a rich amount of fiber. Fiber can clean waste cholesterol and carcinogenic chemicals in your digestive tract.
Thus, a high carb low fat vegan diet prevents colon cancer.
It can prevent obesity and get you to lose weight.
When you are in a typical modern western diet, you are consuming very little healthy carbohydrates and excess fat. Fat from the food you eat is accumulated in your cells, causing obesity. At the same time, you are saving fat-soluble toxins from industrial junk foods into fat in your cells. The toxins prefer to have more fat into your cells, making you fatty food addiction, making you fatter. Your metabolism becomes more dull and inactive.
When you are on a high carbohydrate and low fat vegan diet, your metabolism increase because carbohydrates are the most efficient energy source. And, unnecessary fat with fat-soluble toxins in your cells starts to disappear slowly.
You can learn more detail about how to lose weight with High carb and low fat diet here.
Additional notes about high carb low-fat vegan diet
Carbohydrates don’t make you fat.
Many people believe that eating carbohydrates make them fat because you are consuming extra calories. it is not effective for our body to turn carbohydrates which you eat into fat. Carbohydrates you ate are broken down to glucose, and the extra is stored as glycogen in your muscle and liver. If your weight is 70 kg, you can store 400g glycogen in your body. 100g of brown rice contains 23g carbohydrates. So, it is very difficult to make your glycogen storage full.
If you feel getting fat because of eating carbohydrates, especially through junk foods, probably you are eating extra fat together with carbohydrates. The fat becomes fat in your body, not carbohydrates.
You can learn about details about it from this Olympic coach.
The high carbohydrates diet doesn’t mean you have to eat a lot of carbohydrates.
When you hear a high carbohydrate diet, you may imagine you have to eat only a lot of potatoes. It is not like that. It is about the ratio.
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, three-quarters of daily calories that come from carbohydrates and reduce oily food as much as possible.
Most plant foods are rich in carbohydrates. For example, the percentages of carbohydrates in plant foods are as below according to Dr. McDougall.
- Banana: more than 95%
- Beans: 72%
- Brocolli: 71%
- Carrots: 92%
- Corn: 85%
- Potatoes: 90%
- Rice: 80%
- Beef, chicken, fish: 0%
So, if you mainly eat plant-based whole foods, you are automatically eating high carbohydrates and a low-fat diet.
Avoid refined carbohydrates.
The more refined, the fewer micro-nutrients which you need for your proper health. For example, Although refined sugar is carbohydrate and vegan, it has no fiber and no micronutrients. It is better we eat whole food rather than a refined one.
High carbohydrate low-fat vegan diet I recommend is based on carbohydrates from plant wholefoods such as grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits, but not refined carbohydrates such as white sugar or white flour.
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