High Carbohydrate Diet
diet and weight loss | food tracking
Greg Pomerantz was curious about the effect of carbohydrate intake on his various health indicators. After eating a low carbohydrate diet for a few years Greg wanted to see what happened if he reversed course and switched to a high carbohydrate diet (mostly fish and rice). Watch this quick talk, filmed at the New York QS Meetup group, to see what he learned.
So I ate a low carbohydrate diet for a couple of years, and the conventional wisdom is a lot of carbohydrates are supposed to be good for you, especially if you’re like me and maybe your cholesterol is a little too high and I just wanted to see what would happen.
So there may be some reasons why you think maybe a high carbohydrate diet isn’t good for you. And this guy, Walter Willet over at the Harvard School of Public Health is a mainstream and nutrition researcher and he thinks that if you take fat out of the diet and actually saturated fat and replace it with carbs it’s sort of neutral as far your risk of heart disease. Part of the reason for that is your triglycerides are supposed to go up on a high carb diet, and your HDL’s supposed to go down and those are bad changes. What happens to your blood sugar if you eat a lot of carbohydrates it turns to sugar in your blood and it spikes and all these bad things are supposed to happen.
Also there’s this. You can put on your 3D glasses to see these plots. This is data from the National Health and Nutrition and Examination Survey, and you can go on SDC and you can get all this for free it’ great.
These are adult eating a high carbohydrate diets in blue and in low carbohydrate diets in red, and that’s their non-HDL cholesterol it’s about the same. So that’s the survey data. It doesn’t look like the high carb diet really makes a difference.
So this is the diet. Basically it’s rice and fish and primarily these are the staple foods, so this picture is so big I can’t believe how big it is. It’s about a pound of fish and two pounds of rice on that platter, and there were vegetables and nuts and other things in the diet to.
And that’s the primary result. My non HDL cholesterol as you can see over the the four years was pretty high and then all of a sudden within a week it dropped about a hundred points and it stayed low. So this is the high carbohydrate diet for non-HDL cholesterol and this is the HDL and there is no really clinically relevant change here. You see a hump there, and I was eating a lot of butter and it went up but it didn’t stay up and it started to come back down.
So what about blood sugar and I wanted to know was glucose intolerance test, where I gave myself 75 grams of glucose in water, and it jumps up to 150 and it comes right back down, so that’s a normal healthy looking curve.
This one on the right was my blood sugar for an entire day where I ate 500 grams of carbs during the day mostly around noon around lunchtime and there’s no abnormal spikes and 125 is about the highest it went. This is hours on the right and the y-axis is the same on these two plots, and the x here is two hours on the left and a whole day on the right in hours.
So what about fat; if you eat a ton of fat, you know if you’re eating a high carbohydrate diet and maybe your use to carbs and your body can handle it and you eat say four eggs and coconut oil and half a stick of butter maybe that would be bad. So I tried that and infact the triglycerides only went up to 111, and this is better than it was on the low carbohydrate diet when I was eating a lot of fat regularly. So this was a surprise and maybe it had something to do with how much fish I was eating that’s supposed to help.
There were some negative changes. I got some blood work from my doctor and my homocysteine went up. I think I wasn’t eating enough vegetables, and so now I supplement with B vitamins for that. And I had some inflammatory markers but I was also sick the day I got my blood drawn so that was probably what that was.
The bad thing was my allergies came back this year for the first time in a long time so that was a negative, and I got hives but only for a few weeks.
So what did I learn?
I can eat a wide variety of diets and I think most humans are pretty adaptable in diet. Carbohydrates are very inexpensive, so this diets about half the price of my low carbohydrate diet that’s a benefit and also I can sort of change my cholesterol now and I’ve figured how to do that. And then I wonder, maybe I should just eat low carbs during allergy season, so that’s an idea and I’ll try that then next time an allergy season comes around. So that’s my entire talk so I’ll take questions.