Carb counting 5. August 2011 William Davis (20) In the recent Heart Scan Blog post, Can I eat quinoa, I discussed how non-wheat carbohydrate sources like quinoa, amaranth, black beans, brown rice, fruit, etc. do not exert the inflammation-provoking, appetite-increasing effects of wheat (since gliadin and gluten are not present), nor do they increase blood glucose as enthusiastically as the amylopectin A of wheat--but non-wheat grains can still increase blood sugar quite substantially. Of course, any food that triggers blood sugar also trigger hepatic de novo lipogenesis, thereby increasing triglyceride levels and postprandial particles (e.g., chylomicron remnants), which, in turn, triggers formation of small LDL particles. So these non-wheat carbohydrates, or what I call "intermediate carbohydrates" (for lack of a better term; low-glycemic index is falsely reassuring) still trigger all the carbohydrate phenomena of table sugar. Is it possible to obtain the fiber, B-vitamin, flavonoid benefits of these intermediate carbohydrates without triggering the undesirable carbohydrate consequences?Yes, by using small portions. Small portions are tolerated by most people without triggering all these phenomena. Problem: Individual sensitivity varies widely. One person's perfectly safe portion size is another person's deadly dose. For instance, I've witnessed many extreme differences, such as 1-hour blood sugar after 6 oz unsweetened yogurt of 250 mg/dl in one person, 105 mg/dl in another. So checking 1-hour blood sugars is a confident means of assessing individual sensitivity to carbs. Some people don't like the idea of checking blood sugars, however. Or, there might be times when it's inconvenient or unavailable. A useful alternative: Count carbohydrate grams. (Count "net" carbohydrate grams, of course, i.e., carbohydrates minus indigestible fiber grams to yield "net" carbs.) Most people can tolerate around 40-50 grams carbohydrates per day and deal with them effectively, provided they are spaced out throughout the day and not all at once. Only the most sensitive, e.g., diabetics, apo E2 people, those with familial hypertriglyceridemia, are intolerant to even this amount and do better with less than 30 grams per day. Then there are the genetically gifted from a carbohydrate perspective, people who can tolerate 50-60 grams, occasionally somewhat more. People will sometimes say things like "You don't know what the hell you're talking about because I eat 200 grams carbohydrate per day and I'm normal weight and have perfect blood sugar and lipids." As in many things, the crude measures made are falsely reassuring. Glycation, for instance, from postprandial blood sugars of "only" 140 mg/dl--typical after, say, unsweetened oatmeal--still works its unhealthy magic and will lead long-term to cataracts, arthritis, and other conditions. Humans were not meant to consume an endless supply of readily-digestible carbohydrates. Counting carbohydrates is another way to "tighten up" a carbohydrate restriction.