How Much Carbohydrate Should We Eat?
When I began this website I thought that getting sugar intake right down would be enough for most people to get close to their desired weight. Indeed that does seem to do the trick for a lot of people, say 30 – 40%. However some get their sugar intake below the American Heart Association recommendation of 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men and lose only a kg or two, or sometimes none at all.
I now think that refined non sugar carbohydrates are also a problem. This is based on further reading and discussions with other healthcare professionals.
These refined carbohydrates include bread, pasta, rice and flour based foods. Sorry, we’ve probably got to cut these in addition to sugar.
The average western person is getting more than 50% of their calories from carbohydrate (and 15% from protein and 30% from fat).
Half of the carb calories come from sugar (30 teaspoons per day).
Our cavemen ancestors ate an average of just 25% carbohydrate. This carbohydrate would have been unrefined – root, seeds, and occasional not very sweet fruit in season. They ate more animal fat averaging around 40% and more protein around 35%. These figures come from a survey of 259 separate hunter gatherer groups still existing in the first half of the 20th century. Naturally there was considerable variation in these figures. The numbers varied with the location and the season. For example,we know eskimos (inuits) ate 80% fat and 20% protein with virtually no carbohydrate throughout long winters and apparently suffered no vitamin or other nutritional deficiencies. At least not until Europeans introduced them to sugar and white flour. Their health has declined dramatically since, as has the health of all more primitive peoples exposed to sugar and refined carbohydrates
There would be very few groups in the world today leading a hunter gatherer lifestyle, which precludes keeping animals or growing crops. It is reasonable to argue that we are well adapted to the diets we have had for the past few million years. Conclusion, eat more protein up to 25%, more fat particularly from animal products, more non starchy vegetables and less refined carbohydrate.