There have been such great carb discussions around here lately. It has been such a roller coaster for me. At one time I knew from personal experience that eating plenty of carbs was fine, not a hindrance to fat loss, a health crisis, a moral failure, or evidence of ignorance. The internet will mess you up though!
I was exposed to paleo, gluten-free, carb timing, earning your carbs, low-carb, Wheat Belly, Gary Taubes, Mark's Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve. Anybody remember that one? It may have infested my brain worse than anything. Health and body-conscious cavepersons should aim for under 100g per day, the lower the better, keto is best. 150-300g per day is "insidious weight gain." 300g per day is the "death zone" or some such. This did three bad things to me: It made me do math when I eat, as I'm sure Grok the caveman did. It made me judge myself based on the numbers. And it made me afraid. If I didn't get the numbers right, I would certainly get leaky gut, diabesity, dementia, heart disease, and cancer, probably all at once, probably right after eating a bagel.
This is FALSE! If I go by how I feel physically, body comp, blood work, energy level, mood, sleep, and overall health, carbs rule! Like I said, I knew this at one time. I knew it as a skinny kid from a family of skinny carb-eaters. I knew it as I became an underweight disordered eater while consuming mostly processed carbs. I knew it as I recovered and regained energy eating plenty of whole grains. I knew it during my seven years as a vegetarian and vegan. But I was willing to disregard everything I thought I knew based on what "experts" said, and by experts I mean people looking to increase diet book sales and website page views.
Live and learn, right? The reality was that when I was trying to earn carbs with activity, avoid sugar, count carb grams, and stick mostly to protein and vegetables, I was 15-20 pounds heavier and struggling to maintain even that. Slashing carbs made me a moody insomniac with a tendency to overeat "allowed" foods, and to lose control around "forbidden" ones. It did not make me lean, which was my primary reason for doing it.
I saw a Gary Taubes article in the NY Times where he likens carbohydrates to drugs and alcohol. He assures people that total abstinence is the only reasonable course of action, that you should avoid people and places that tempt you to eat carbs just like a recovering addict would avoid drug dealers and liquor stores. I find that mindset to be so destructive. It's been my experience that humans are "addicted" to carbohydrates in the same way we're addicted to water and oxygen. Things only get weird when they're scarce.