By Mike Thayer
According to our "Oh-so-wise" government, in order to maintain a healthy weight, the U.S. daily recommendation is to consume 225 - 325 grams of carbohydrates per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
If you're the typical American, that's horse manure. If you're the typical American, consuming that many carbs will cause weight gain!
"So Mike," you ask...... "Define Typical American."
The typical American these days wakes up, gets ready for work, travels to work be it by car or mass transit. Sitting at a desk makes up much of the day for many. Standing on your feet performing light physical duties is what takes place for many others. For most folks, regular exercise is not part of the routine, which is wake up, work, do something not really physically demanding after work, get some sleep, repeat.
That typical way of life does NOT require 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day to function.
Here's a simple, general rule of thumb. If you work out regularly, you need all those carbs. If you don't work out regularly, you flat out don't. The government's recommended daily intake is pretty much garbage in the real world.
A sedentary lifestyle - desk jockey, no work out - your body only needs about 135 grams in carbs to maintain body weight.... Note I said 'maintain', not lose weight. If you want to lose weight, that carb gram intake needs to be under 60 a day.
A moderate lifestyle - standing on the job, light physical activity - your body only needs about 180 grams in carbs to maintain weight.
So what does that mean in terms of food? Cut back on the potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. And it's not that hard.
Consider the following:
A typical slice of bread/toast has 13 grams in carbs. It takes two slices of bread to make a sandwich and most folks eat two pieces of toast with breakfast. That's 26 carbs total.
A 1/2 cup of white rice comes with a carb price tag of 23 grams.
A cup of pasta as 35 grams of carbs.
A medium potato has 38 carbs.
Those are all typical serving sizes. So follow me on this..... You have two slices of toast/biscuit, croissant/bagle with breakfast, around 26 carbs.... Having a side of hash browns with that? Add another 19 carbs. Chinese stir fry and rice for lunch, 23 carbs and that doesn't count the carbs in the veggies that are part of the stir fry.... Some potato chips for an afternoon snack, let's say another 19 carbs..... Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and you had two helpings along with some garlic bread.... Add another 96 carbs.... Total carb intake for the day? A whopping 183 grams in carbs!
For that sedentary lifestyle, you've gone over what your body ACTUALLY needs by about 50 carb grams. Do that everyday and yes, you'll gain weight.
"But Mike," you say, "that 183 grams in carbs you laid out in a typical day is perfect for somebody with a moderate lifestyle right?"
Let's dig a little deeper into those carb counts shall we? Did you have cream and sugar with your morning coffee? Add at least another 5 grams in carbs.... And how many cups did you have? Most folks don't drink just one cup. Did you put some ketchup on those hash rounds you had with breakfast? Add another 5 carb grams. That cheese on that sausage, egg, cheese croissant? Add another gram. How about those veggies in the stir fry for lunch? Depending on the mix, that's another 10-20 carbs. Did you drink a regular soda or two at some point during the day? Add another 24 grams in carbs. Did you have a salad with that spaghetti at dinner? Add another 10 grams in carbs. So how many MORE carb grams do we add to the total? Another 55 - 65 grams in carbs.
Even for the moderate lifestyle, that's at least 238 carbs, 58 grams above what a moderate lifestyle kind of person 'needs' to maintain a healthy weight. It's a recipe for weight gain, not 'maintain.'
So how do you cut back, without finding yourself hungry between meals? It's easier than you think. Eat one slice of toast, not two. Knock off 13 grams in carbs. Switch to heavy cream for your coffee (0 grams in carbs) instead of the coffee creamer, knock off 5 more carbs. Ditch the soda, knock off 24 more grams in carbs. Don't have that second helping of spaghetti, having a bigger salad instead, knock off 25 more grams in carbs. Knock off total: 67 fewer carbs. Doing little things like that, means a better looking you! We can talk about why the heck you're eating bread, rice, chips and pasta all in one day - you shouldn't be - at a later time.....