The rice experiment (now the weight experiment) was a great success for me when I did it and helped me decided to continue with additional carbohydrates in my diet. I want to talk about the process a little bit here and why over and over we talk about how people are different and need different diet and exercise prescriptions.
A couple years ago I read The Perfect Health Diet, a book that changed the way I saw a lot of things nutrition related. Paul Jaminet, the author, talks about macro nutrients as most diet books do but he takes quite a different approach. He relates the amount of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) we need to the make up of the perfect human food…Breast Milk. He determines the need of these macronutrients based on the relative size of our brains to our bodies (Babies brains are a bit larger than our relative to the rest of their body). This is an approach I had never heard before.
As a result of the Breast milk comparison, Paul recommends between 300 and 600 calories from carbohydrates. The range will depend on your activity level and goals. For weight loss, try less, for higher activity levels try a bit more.
I had never heard things described this way before and it really made sense to me. I was on a pretty low carb diet at the time and thought I felt pretty good. I decided to give this a shot in the way of adding rice to breakfast and sometimes to dinner. I was, and still am, sensitive to gluten containing grains so that wasn’t an option for me. I tended towards rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes and fruit for my carbohydrate requirement.
The first thing I noticed was the need to eat every 2-3 hours was gone. I was able to go longer between meals while maintaining energy levels and being able to think clear headed. Prior to this experiment, I needed to eat every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar regulated.
I also found that if I front loaded the day with my carbs, then I didn’t feel like my body composition changed as much. Before this experiment, I gained about 3-3.5 kgs. I want to blame a little of this on the new baby and lack of sleep/stress at the time, but I think the majority of it came from getting lazy with my carb control. In case you were unaware, carbs can become addicting and are easy to overdo. From a health standpoint, I don’t think this weight is detrimental to my health, but as a weightlifter who needs to stay in a weight class this could be a problem.
How does any of this apply to you?
I have a couple of thoughts based on my experiences.
- If you don’t know how your body reacts to foods or food timing, you need to figure that out first. How? Keep a food log detailed with your mood over the course of a week. Then come in a review it with a coach to see if there are trends in the way you feel on a daily or weekly basis.
- If you have your blood sugar under control and know what foods you are sensitive to, start at the low end of the carb calorie recommendation (300 cal). Remember 1/4 cup of cooked rice has about 160 calories.
- I liked rice because it was easy to control portion size and easy to prepare and add to just about any food. Don’t feel limited to this, try sweet potatoes, fruit or potatoes. I would prefer you stay away from processed sugar and grains.
- Use the way you feel and your mood as an indicator of whether you have too much or too little carbs. Too much and you will be lethargic and tired. Too little and you may be cranky and moody or have low energy levels.
I hope this helps you and like always post questions or come in and chat about them.
Wednesday S&C Workout:
Handstand hold x3
sled sprint x1
Rest 2 min