Part Two: How To Include Carbs Into Your Diet.

First off, I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. While you all know I endorse a Paleo lifestyle, I will admit that I myself ate my fair share of carbs last Thursday—and lived to tell the tale. Hopefully my last newsletter helped you to understand important role carbohydrates play in both physical and mental health. But an informed decision to include this macronutrient into your balanced diet is only the first step. Now, the questions you're probably asking are: which carbs are the healthiest? How can I incorporate them into my diet with maximum results? And finally, how do I know what exactly what my carb-intake should be? This last question is perhaps the most important, as a lot of people tend to mentally misconstrue how much of a certain food group they are ingesting. Do you know what are the recommended daily allotments of carbohydrates for someone of your age and weight? Have you ever kept track of the grams or percentage of calories you are receiving from carbs? 

As I explained in part-1 of this 2-part series on carbohydrates, something as basic as carb-intake can have an effect on health conditions from depression and lethargy to digestive upset and athletic performance. Keeping a balanced diet is undeniably one of our most valuable roots to good health. So, I have written the following newsletter to expose just which carbohydrate-containing foods offer the most benefits, like increased energy, healthier sleep patterns, etc., and I have included an easy process to help you calculate your own individual, optimum carb-intake based on health conditions, exercise level, age, weight and other factors, so that you can all get the most health benefits out of your diet.

If you’ve been shying away from carbohydrates until now, I’m guessing that’s because you think they make you gain weight. And that’s true—in some cases. If you generally eat very low amounts of carbs but binge on pizza or bread every once in a while, you will probably find that these slip-ups do add on some pounds. Don’t blame carbohydrates as a whole though; blame the refined and processed carbs that constitute America’s favorite junk foods. Carbs must be incorporated into a diet strategically and thoughtfully in order to avoid the harmful side effects that can result from ingesting certain refined carbs, like sugar and white flour. Following are some charts of diet-friendly foods and the amount of carbs (in grams) they contain. If you want to know more about which carb-containing foods to keep and which to toss, take a look at the November newsletter (click here). 

The moral of the story is that, when you’re choosing which carbohydrates to eat, please choose carefully; i.e. go for fruit, not chips. 

Knowing which carbs to eat is only half the work though. The next step is figuring out how much of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates—something that will ultimately be a result of personal factors and preferences. The following information is meant to help you customize your own diet in a way that can have you feeling your best; it just takes a little diligence and patience.

Step 1 is to assess what percentage of carbs will work best with your life-style and weight goals. First, look at any diseases or health conditions you may be suffering from. For example, if you have diabetes or small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, you are going to want to start off in the low-carb category. If you have adrenal fatigue, are breastfeeding, or are a moderate to heavy exerciser, you’ll probably want to start at a moderate carb level. There are many other conditions that can affect how well your body receives carbs, so please be sure to assess your overall health when deciding what amount of carbs might work best for you. If you have multiple conditions that require opposite amounts of carbs, you should consider working personally with a practitioner. 

If you don’t have a condition that places you in a particular spot on the carb-intake spectrum, the best place to start is with a moderate carb diet. I suggest keeping a food diary in order to keep track of any symptom regression/improvement. Ultimately, the best indicator of carb-intake is how you feel, e.g. good, bloated, weak, etc.. Based on this diary, you can experiment by increasing and decreasing your carb percentage until you find a level that benefits you the most.

Step 2 is to figure out how many calories you should be eating each day from carbohydrates. If you know what your daily calorie-intake should be, simply multiply it by your target-percentage of carbohydrates. The following chart details what percentages constitute which carb-levels (low, moderate, high), as well as which populations would benefit most from each level:

 If you are unsure how many calories you should be consuming each day, you may want to search the web for an online calorie calculator. Otherwise, 2000 is a reasonable number to start with. So if you want 20% of your calories to come from carbs, multiply .20 x 2000 = 400. This is the number of calories you should be getting each day from carbohydrates. If you don’t feel like counting calories you can divide this number by 4 to figure out how many grams of carbohydrates you should be eating each day. 400 / 4 = 100g of carbs a day. Based on the first few charts, we see this goal can be met by eating a banana and an apple between meals, ½ a head of romaine lettuce in a salad for lunch, and a sweet potato with dinner, for example. 

If this process sounds a little too mathematical to you, you can also use the basic rule of thirds, which requires your plate to be 1/3 protein, 1/3 starch, and 1/3 low-carb vegetables and tubers. Following this rule will put you somewhere near the moderate-carb level.

I would like to stress that the diet calculation process as a whole is somewhat imprecise and for most, it will take some experimenting. Start in a moderate position unless you have one of the aforementioned health conditions, see how you feel, and adjust your carb-intake from there. My final advice is to please give each stage of your experimenting a fair amount time for your body to acclimate. If you eat only 10%-15% of calories from carbohydrates and you start feeling sluggish, have a harder time shedding that last pound or two of fat, or aren’t sleeping as well, you might need to consider slightly raising your carb-level. If you’re eating 30% or more of calories from carbs and you notice weight gain or digestive upset, you should consider a moderate or low-carb diet.

Remember: patience is key. There’s no miracle diet or one-size-fits-all approach. But, if you do give your diet the time and attention it deserves, the results should be well worth it.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

How much do you know about living a healthy life? What is your Health IQ?

Here are some easy questions to find out.

(the answers are at the end of the questions)


1. What is the health significance of skin tag?

2.Which of these disease conditions are caused by Type ll Diabetes?

Glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems, numbness in the feet, increased skin infections, high blood pressure (Hypertension), depression, inability to deal with natural emotions like sadness and anger, hearing Loss, gum disease, Gastroparesis, Neuropathy (nerve damage), Kidney disease, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Stroke

3. What is the main cause of Type ll Diabetes?

4. What is the most common cause of high cholesterol?

5.. What is one of the main causes of high blood pressure?

6. What is one of the main causes of Alzheimer ’s disease?

7. What is the main cause of heart and blood vessel disease?

8.Do you experience any discomforts associated with your menstrual cycle, or resulting from menopause or perimenopause?

9. What is one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction?

10. What food sensitivity is often implicated in all these health conditions?

    Osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism.

    11. What is one of the major causes of death in the US and what is its cause?

    12. Percentage of the US population that is overweight or obese?

    13. Percentage of the US population that is prediabetic?

    14. What foods will help you loose weight the quickest?

    15. What is the world ranking of the US in terms of life expectancy?

    16. What part of your body contains 70% of you immune system?


    1. Skin tags are an indication of a potential risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

    2. All of the illness listed are all a direct result of Type 2 Diabetes.

    Questions 3 through 7: A diet high in grains and refined carbohydrates.

    Here is a link to more information about question #7

    8. Often time health issues related to a woman's menstrual cycle or age are homonal in nature, but many time diet has a significant impact on the overal hormonal healht of a woman.

    9. You might think it is low testosterone. It is not! It is a diet high in grains and carbohydrates.

    10. All of the inness listed in question #10 are often a result of consuming gluten which is found in wheat, rye and barley. A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 "diseases" that can be caused by eating gluten.

    11: 35% of all deaths are related to heart and blood vessel disease.

    12. Sixty percent of men and woman over the age of 25 are overweight or obese.

    13. Most people don’t even know that they are prediabetic of have Metabolic Syndrome.

    In 2005–2008, based on fasting glucose or A1C levels, 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 years or older had prediabetes—50 percent of those ages 65 years or older. You can guess that these statistic are not going down.

    14. Fats and protein.

    15. The US ranks 26th our of 36 of the most industrialized countries.

    16. Your digestive tract contain 70% of immune system. I included this question to emphases the relationship of what you eat and your immune system.

    What do all these questions have in common?

    I think you guessed by now, a diet high in grains and simple carbohydrates.

    If health is a choice for most of us, the first step to making that choice is to eat in a way that supports your health. Find out just how healthy you are.

    Digestive Health Ann Arbor now offers a complete Metabolic Health Assessment. It is extremely comprehensive and provides considerably more information about the current state of your health then most doctors will provide. If you are interested in a very detailed assessment of your health, please click here for more information. (All blood work needed for this assessment is covered by your health insurance). For more information, or to schedule a free consultation and evaluation please call Digestive Health Ann Arbor at (734) 222-8210 or visit

    For more information on the impact of grains and carbohydrates on your health please please read an article just published in the Crazy Wisdom Journal on page 46.

    Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.