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Primal Endurance - What Carbs Count?

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  • Primal Endurance - What Carbs Count?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am prepping for an upcoming endurance event later this year (a Spartan Beast) and I have been reading through the Primal Endurance book for advice on training and my diet. I have recently transitioned to a Paleo diet and love the ideas behind it. However before reading Primal Endurance, and many other references on how to eat for endurance events, I enjoyed my "primal carbs". I ate a good amount of fruit every day, probably about 2-3 servings a day and I particularly enjoyed having bananas, apples, and grapes. I would also usually have 1 starchy vegetable a day like sweet potato or some butternut squash.

    When I started reading about using fat as fuel as opposed to carbs I decided to track how many carbs I was actually eating and it kind of surprised me how many carbs are in the fruits I was eating. It also surprised me how many carbs were in vegetables in general. My normal salad I was eating for lunch would push 20g of carbs and that was without any starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes of squash. Mark seems to suggest you stay in the range of 50-150g of carbs a day, and below 100g if you want to loose weight. It seemed to me that eating a lot of vegetables everyday could easily put you close to the 100g mark of carbs, and then throw in some fruit and starchy vegetable and you are easily pushing the 150g, mark if not over.

    So my question is when I have something like a salad without and starchy vegetables in it, should I be concerned about those carbs? I have been cutting down on my fruit intake drastically and only having .5 cup of strawberry and blueberry every day and I miss my daily banana/apple. I would like to incorporate those back into my diet just for enjoyment reasons, but I also want to make sure my body is preferring fat over carbs as its fuel source. Appreciate any advice or insight, thanks!

    -Ryan

  • #2
    I have just a few general comments ...

    For your purposes, the quantity of fruit you're eating seems too high. The reason is that the fructose portion of the fruit easily converts to fat in the liver and the glucose may convert to glycogen until the store is full or flash-burn off or be stored as bodyfat if your blood sugar spikes too high from the onslaught. You would be better served to replace the fruit with more complex carbs like potatoes and white rice that will convert to glucose more slowly and if glycogen store is full, the carb burn will be more measured and less likely to be stored as fat.

    Regarding fibrous (non-starchy) vegetables, you do not need to count them as part of of your carb count. Eat them liberally.
    Last edited by John Caton; 03-04-2016, 04:07 AM.
    Stop by to visit at http://primalways.net
    Old Paths ... New Journeys

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    • #3
      Thanks John. I have cut back on the fruit since trying to convert to a more low carb high fat paleo diet. I am now down to about .5-1 serving of fruit a day (usually .5 cup berries). I assume that is more reasonable?

      I have yet to implement the aerobic portion of the primal endurance plan yet so my body still might be craving carbs from my anaerobic workouts (I have another question about that I will post in a different thread.) I am hoping that once I start doing purely aerobic exercises that some of my carb cravings will go away (and my fruit cravings).

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      • #4
        A cup of green beans has only 7g of carbs in it... you would have to eat a boat load of those to hit your 100g goal! That goal would be hit much faster eating sweet potato or rice.... or old fashioned oatmeal.

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        • #5
          I agree take one veggie by itself and it has very little carbs in it. Make a big salad out of a bunch of veggies and it starts to add up quickly Have a bunch of veggies 3 meals a day and you can get pretty close to 100g. My concern is not really how to hit the 100g goal, my concern is getting close to that goal by just eating veggies, without even having a piece of fruit or a sweet potato. I want to know if I can disregard the carbs in veggies and just be concerned about the carbs in fruit and starchy veggies (sweet potatoes etc).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ryanjbaxter View Post
            I agree take one veggie by itself and it has very little carbs in it. Make a big salad out of a bunch of veggies and it starts to add up quickly Have a bunch of veggies 3 meals a day and you can get pretty close to 100g. My concern is not really how to hit the 100g goal, my concern is getting close to that goal by just eating veggies, without even having a piece of fruit or a sweet potato. I want to know if I can disregard the carbs in veggies and just be concerned about the carbs in fruit and starchy veggies (sweet potatoes etc).
            Yes, the carbs in sugars and starches are countable. Your gut bugs will eat the rest.
            Stop by to visit at http://primalways.net
            Old Paths ... New Journeys

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            • #7
              Originally posted by John Caton View Post
              Yes, the carbs in sugars and starches are countable. Your gut bugs will eat the rest.
              Love that my gut bugs will eat the rest

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