Cycling Carbs


"Low-carb" diets have gained popularity as people experience the therapeutic benefits of limiting whole grains and other complex carbohydrates in diets such as Specific Carb, GAPs, and Anti-Candida. Several newsletters ago, I reviewed the Cantin Ketogenic Diet which highlights a low-carb fat-burning diet's abilities to starve cancer cells by limiting glucose. A Paleo approach can easily be "low-carb" as well.

In his book, Adrenal Reset Diet, Dr. Christianson makes a strong case for how cycling carbs throughout the day can help support hormonal health and adrenal recovery.

He claims that while the Paleo diet has helped increase awareness of the need for consistent and quality proteins, many people rely too much on fruit for carbohydrates (not complex enough and providing too much fructose, potentially). He discusses the popular argument that low-carb diets are stressful to thyroid and adrenal glands in the long-run.

The author encourages the use of legumes and whole grains for sources of complex carbs, in addition to foods like sweet potatoes and various fruits. His plan is to have a low amount of carbohydrates in the morning, a bigger amount with lunch and the largest serving with supper. The carbohydrates should be eaten with protein, fat, and copious amounts of low-starch vegetables to result in supportive levels of cortisol in the early and middle part of the day when we need the most energy. His plan allows for increased insulin in the evening when we need it to rest and sleep soundly.

Here is the cycling of carbohydrates with each meal:
1/4 c carbs with breakfast
1/2 c carbs with lunch
1 c carbs with dinner
Remember to add protein, fat and vegetables to each meal!

Having had some issues with adrenals from my second pregnancy and postpartum sleep deprivation, I put myself on his "diet" and found that I do have a lot more energy in the afternoon when I might normally experience an occasional dip or low-blood sugar period.

Everyone is different and there is no one perfect diet that will fit everyone. Many people with inflammatory tendencies may not be able to eat grains and legumes until they resolve their gut and digestive deficiencies (sometimes called "leaky gut") but I would give highly recommend The Adrenal Reset Diet as reading for anyone suffering from adrenal issues.