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Home / Nutrition / What is the Dietary Requirement for Carbohydrates

What is the Dietary Requirement for Carbohydrates

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg February 26, 2020

You’ve been considering going on the low-carb keto diet. As soon as you mention it, someone you know recites a whole host of reasons why a low-carbohydrate diet is unhealthy.

“You need to eat carbs. Your body has to have them,” you’re told.

But is this actually valid?

Recently, someone asked me if there are carbohydrate requirements. In other words, do you need carbs in your diet?

You’ve been led to believe that your body requires carbohydrates to even function.

So you may be startled to discover that there’s no dietary requirement for carbs.

None whatsoever.

And in this article, I’ll explain:

Let’s take a look at why you don’t truly need to eat carbs as part of your diet. (But the reasons why I recommend one type anyway)

 

Carbs Aren’t Essential - And Here’s What I Mean By That

Carbs Aren’t Essential - And Here’s What I Mean By That

Essential refers to a nutrient that your body can’t make itself. Thus, you need to get essential nutrients from your diet.

With me so far?

There are such nutrients that are essential - such as amino acids and fatty acids. Because your body can’t make them, you must get them from your diet. But there’s no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Therefore, you don’t need to get carbs from your diet. There’s no required carbohydrate intake.

Yes, your body needs a certain amount of glucose. And it’s true that carbs convert to glucose to fuel your body.

Then the question becomes, can your body make its own glucose?

a diagram of a glucose molecule


Your Body Makes Its Own Required Glucose

The answer is yes. Your body makes glucose by way of a process called gluconeogenesis.

You may have come across information stating that you need glucose for your brain and red blood cells. And this is true. So, what happens when you reduce your dietary carbohydrates, which is the source of glucose?

Your body simply adapts to burning ketones and other fatty acids for fuel. Any glucose that it needs, it makes from ketones, fat, and protein.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? If you think about it, this is a perfect evolutionary adaptation since for most of human history we had far less reliable access to carbs than we did to fat and protein. If we required a steady supply of carbs to survive, we would have died out long ago.

 

But I Recommend One Specific Type Of Carbohydrate

That being said, your gut microbes do like to eat fiber. While fiber is a carbohydrate, it’s the only type of carb that has no effect on your Fat Storing Hormone and blood sugar, and thus will help with weight loss among other benefits of the keto diet.

Fiber is the one type of carbohydrate I recommend, unless you have digestive issues that cause you to experience gastrointestinal distress such as bloating and gas when you eat fiber. Other than that, I encourage you to eat vegetables for their fiber.

Feed those healthy microbes in your gut.

a photo of a variety of fresh vegetables


As well, vegetables provide you with nutrients that are important for your overall health, such as potassium, trace minerals, and vitamins.

Let’s take a look at the best way to get enough healthy vegetables along with lowering your carbohydrate intake.

 

How To Lower Your Carbs (And Get The Benefit Of Improving Your Cholesterol)

Going on a low-carb diet such as Healthy KetoTM can give you incredible health benefits. On Healthy Keto, you’ll consume 7-10 cups per day of keto-friendly vegetables.

One of the biggest misconceptions about a low-carb diet is that people are afraid that consuming more fat will make them unhealthy. But what’s interesting is that when you lower your carbohydrate intake and raise your healthy fat consumption, your cholesterol ratio will move into a very healthy range.

Your LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, may increase temporarily. But if you evaluate your LDL levels for the two different types you’ll find that the better of the two will be high. The worst type will become higher.

In summary, a low-carb diet can put your cholesterol levels at a healthy range, even when you consume more fat.

a notepad with the words Lower Your Cholesterol


 

The Damage A High-Carb Diet Can Cause

By contrast, when you consume a high-carb diet you worsen your cholesterol ratios.

Your triglycerides increase. Your HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, decreases, and the destructive type of LDL increases.

Consequently, your risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease increases.

Your Choice Is Clear

I know you want to have as much information as you can to make fully-informed choices about your health. I want that for you too. Here’s some significant research for you to consider as you do your due diligence.

You can rest easy, knowing that your body truly has no requirements for carbohydrates. Even so, eating fiber will boost your gut health by feeding the friendly microbes that comprise a flourishing microbiome

And isn’t your health the most important thing you have?.
 

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.
 

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