Carbs are a sticky subject in the nutrition world. They’re either blamed for everything from diabetes to erectile dysfunction, or hailed as being the greatest effing thing that’s ever touched a bro’s lips. Aside from their first sip of beer, of course.
They’re most definitely not the worst food imaginable. They can play a major role in helping you get jacked, drop the right kind of weight, and perform well in the gym. They can also help you gain a ton of fat if you’re not careful.
Ever wonder about how many carbs should you eat in a day? It’s a fair question. We’re all individual little snowflakes here. We require different forms of love, affection, alcohol, and the amount of carbs we should be eating varies as well.
The big issue with carbs.
People eat too many shit foods. Eating a ton of your carbs in the form of highly refined and processed foods isn’t the best thing for your health. Generally refined carbs have been stripped of nutrients, had sugar or other things added, and are incredibly low in fiber.
Food quality is important if you care about health. Getting enough fiber and plenty of nutrients is something that can pay huge dividends for your health.
When demonizing carbs got popular, people rightfully went after the cheap and refined sources of carbs. Getting people to remove most of those from their diet isn’t that crazy of an idea. It’s a sensible way to help obese people start eating higher quality foods and remove calories from their diet.
The bad part was that many people also lumped things like white potatoes in with Cheetos. Not a fair comparison. Cheetos may be delicious, and Chester may be one cool cat, but nobody in their right mind would say that Cheetos and white potatoes are on the same nutritional playing field.
So which is the right approach?
There’s no need to complicate carbs. People who are obese, sedentary, and generally don’t get much exercise need to stay away from carbs more than others. Obese people have probably had their fun with refined carbs, and now do a poor job at handling them properly. They’ve likely developed some form of insulin resistance.
If you’re a bro who gets in a few sets of curls every week, maybe plays a little basketball, and has the beginnings of a dad bod going, you can eat some carbs. Just don’t be delusional thinking you need to eat as many as your athlete friend. Being active helps you tolerate more carbs, but not if you overdo it.
What about if you’re an athlete, or someone who lifts hard for 5-6 days a week?
You my bro friend deserve all the carbs you can get your hands on. Intense lifting depletes carb stores, and in order to perform you need to replenish them somehow. The only way to make that happen is to eat them.
Hard and fast carb recommendation numbers.
So you want some real numbers, eh? Figuring out how many carbs per day you should be eating isn’t rocket science, but it does take some trial and error.
If you’re sedentary or obese – meaning above 30% bodyfat, in order to drop fat you need to keep carbs low. Stick with around 100-120g per day, which provides enough fuel to keep your brain functioning optimally.
Most others out there require anywhere from 1-4g per lb of bodyweight. The less active you are, the fewer carbs you require. The more active you are, the more carbs you’ll require.
For example: you’re a bro who hangs out on the porch most days drinking beer, and your idea of activity is a few games of sand volleyball per week, plus 1-2 lifting sessions. You probably fall into the 1g per lb of bodyweight category. If you’re 190lbs of future dad bod greatness, you’ll be eating around 190g of carbs.
On the other end of the spectrum, say you’re a bro who is big into powerlifting and you also do the occasional mud run. You exercise about 10 hours per week, with a mix of intense strength training and cardio. You’ll need about 4g per lb of bodyweight. If you’re 200lbs, you’ll probably be eating roughly 500g of carbs per day you lucky bastard.
Keep it simple:
If you’re a bro who doesn’t lift or exercise much, don’t eat too many carbs. Sub out most of your bread for salads and veggies. If you’re a bro who lifts with some serious intensity and does cardio, you need more carbs mi amigo. Don’t starve yourself from growing.