Counting Carbs

Discussion in 'Diet & Nutrition' started by BPM, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. BPM

    BPM Member

    I am currently bulking. According the research I have done over time, my lean body mass (LBM) is ~175 lbs and my minimum daily suggested intake of carbs is double that in grams, 350g.

    I am having a heck of a time consuming 350g/day of complex carbs. Usually, the most I am able to choke down is roughly 300-320g.

    1. Should I even count "simple" carbs (ex. lactose, fructose, etc)? I don't consume much simple carbs.

    2. If so, can I make up the rest of the carb count with simple carbs (300g complex, 50g simple) and still get good bulking results?

    3. *OR* can I simply continue to eat 300g carbs and make up the calorie difference with protein or fat?

    Carbs have always been a bitch form me to consume. Even after over a year it is still very hard for me to hit my suggested complex carb mark. I also get horrid gas from carbs and it hasn't gotten any better, even after a year or more.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    You don't have to eat that many carbs, and simple carbs are the same as complex carbs for calorie counting reasons.
    It sounds like you got advice from somewhere overly obsessed with macros. As long as you are getting adequate protein, carbs and fats and eating a healthy, balanced diet, worrying too much about macro percentages is just silly.

    Total calories is what matters at the end of the day.
  3. BPM

    BPM Member is one source of that info.

    What would you recommend for a macro ratio?

    Would 30/30/40 be ok for bulking?
  4. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    If you really want to track all your macros to that extent then do this:

    Figure your total calorie intake needed.

    Fat = 25% of calories
    1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight
    The rest carbs

    Example, an active 100 kg lifter looking to bulk figures out he needs 3800 calories to gain
    3800 x .25 = 950 calories or appx 106 grams of fat
    220 grams of protein per day = 880 calories
    3800 - 950 - 880 = 1970
    1970 = appx 493 grams of carbs

    Keep in mind that you can up your protein if you want, fat too if you'd really like but there is evidence that fat is best kept around 20-30% of calories. Just figure the amount of fat and protein you need then fill in the rest with carbs to hit your calorie total, that's all you really have to do.
  5. Tryingtologin

    Tryingtologin Member

    Hey Totz, where did you read that fat is best limited to 20 - 30%? I've just started a little experiment with low carb/high fat diet in an attempt to bulk. Would be interested to hear any possible negative effects. Cheers
  6. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Bryan posted something about it years ago. Supposedly keeping fat between 20 - 30% is good for hormonal balance, increases natural testosterone, etc. I've done higher fat without any real issues myself. In fact, in my experience it seems like higher fat intake keeps the joints healthier.
  7. Tryingtologin

    Tryingtologin Member

    Funny you mention higher t-levels. In reading Di Pasquale's stuff, the metabolic diet (or older version, anabolic diet), he reckons higher fat intake increases both growth hormone and t levels. He recommends fat at about 60%. Like everything else training related though, there are a myriad of studies with all sorts of conclusions. Trial and error, trial and error...
  8. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I feel better on higher fat intake, but that could just be me. That doesn't necessarily mean a better hormonal profile or anything.

    On the other hand, my strength gains really started taking off when I began increasing my carb intake... The first few years of lifting, I stuck to a high fat, high protein and relatively low carb diet (around 100-150 grams daily) and made decent gains. But once I started getting my carbs up to 300-400 grams a day, it made a dramatic difference.
  9. Tryingtologin

    Tryingtologin Member

    Same here. I've been hovering between 100-150 grams per day for quite a while now. Bulking/cutting is simply determined by more or less fat and protein. I feel though that if I was to up carbs to 300-400 grams, I would balloon up in all the wrong places. In saying that, I haven't tried it for a few years.

    Coming from Crossfit on a paleo diet, I may be slightly brainwashed, but I've seen quite a few people respond far better on a low carb diet.
  10. BPM

    BPM Member

    This is what I am talking about. According to the info I have found, the 220 lb (100 kg) lifter in your example should get at least 440 g of carbs per day, and from your figures, ideally 493 g/day.

    I honestly can't hit that 2 g/lb minimum every day. I have been trying for a long time hoping it will get easier and it hasn't. Bloating/gas has gotten worse. I'm at a loss.

    Thanks for the help guys
  11. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    Maybe you are eating the wrong carbohydrates? Maybe try some that are not bloating or gassy? Simple carbs are fine. Especially when you are trying to gain weight, there is nothing wrong with eating simple carbs. Its just silly to "eat clean, eat only complex carbs".... yuck. I couldnt eat 450 carbs/day either if I had to eat only whole grains and boiled potatos and "clean carbs". Heck with that, give me some fruit and some sugary snacks makes it much easier to eat a large variety when bulking.
  12. Tryingtologin

    Tryingtologin Member

    Cereals, bread, pasta, white potatoe, rice and fruit are all carb dense foods and ok when bulking. Trying to stay 'clean' or complex carbs when bulking is a pain.

    In saying that, why not try a high fat/low carb bulk if that suits you better? Steaks, eggs, nuts, cheese, oils, peanut butter, steaks, fish, lamb, beef ground, steaks... Mmmmmm Did I mention steak?
  13. manimal

    manimal New Member

    I personally rather eat only complex carbs. Getting 450 carbs of clean complex carbs isn't as hard as you may think. Though it may make sense and is easier to eat a larger variety of food when bulking, I do believe that your body still need food with nutritional value in order to get the best results or any results for that matter. Otherwise we can all eat McDonalds burgers and bulk up. Most if not all fruit and vegetables are complex. Rice, potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes are also a great source. If you're wanting to look good and feel good, put some effort into what you put into your body.
  14. BPM

    BPM Member

    I mix up the complex carbs all the time, and they all seem to cause gas/bloating after a while.

    I will try to add more "simpler" carbs in. I'm just worried what it could do to me long-term.

    I will have to adjust carb intake for sure. Do you mean very low carb or just lower the carb some? Carbs are so important for hypertrophy from what I've researched. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

    I don't know man. That is a ton of eating, no matter how you look at it.
  15. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong with simple carbs. Of course it's good to get some healthy whole grains and veggies on your diet. But it's just "bro-logic" to think that eating "clean" is superior. If you get 200 grams of protein, 450 grams of carbs and 100 grams of fat, and other things like fiber, vitamins and minerals... It doesn't matter if you got those nutrients at McDonald's or from a big organic salad... It doesn't fucking matter. If you are getting enough nutrients to grow and maintain health, that's all that matters.

    "Clean" eating and obsessing about eating complex carbs, doesn't make much, if any difference to your muscle/fat gain partitioning ratio. As long as all the nutrients and calories are coming in, you can still eat pizza and ice cream along with salad and lean fish... There is no such thing as "clean" bulking, it's all bodybuilding myth.

    If bodybuilder A gets enough calories to bulk and enough protein and nutrients and eats "junk" sometimes, but bodybuilder B eats the exact same calories and nutrients, but only eats complex carbs and so-called "clean" foods, they will both gain the EXACT amount of fat ... Assuming all else is equal.

    Bodybuilding myth about "clean" eating would have you believe that somehow bodybuilder B would gain less fat and more muscle, but as long as calories and macros and micros are roughly the same, then they will both gain the exact same amount of fat and muscle. I am not saying eat Pizza and ice cream all day, because obviously that would be way too much fat, and carbs, and not enough protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. But what I am saying is that as long as you get plenty of lean protein and vegetables, the rest of your diet can pretty much just be "filler" to get enough calories in to gain weight.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  16. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    The problem with eating "Clean" is that it doesn't mean anything. Please define it. Please do. You can't. There is no definition. The definition is relative to the person defining it.

    BPM - try adding fruit at the end of meals. Also using gatorade powder and mixing with water to drink during workouts helps. I prefer to carb cycle personally when I do higher carbs, and keep the carbs higher around workouts then make up the difference with proteins and fats on the off days. Two scoops of gatorade power is 120 grams of carbs. Eat a can of pineapple after dinner and you have another 100-200 grams depending on the size of the can. Throw some raisins in some rice, stir in a scoop of whey and a little cinnamon and sugar to eat as a snack. Another 100-200 grams of carbs. It can be done, it just takes a good plan and discipline.

    As sci and T2L said, no reason to try to eat what bros tell you are the only acceptable carbs while bulking. What type of carbs you eat does not change your p-ratio. It will not change what kind of weight you gain. Lifting and protein is what does that.
  17. Tryingtologin

    Tryingtologin Member

    Some good advice in here. As Totz said, if you are full and struggle to get it all down, you can drink your cals/carbs. Milk alone contains alot of carbs. Don't worry too much about complex vs simple carbs. Eventually all carbs are converted to glucose, either via the liver or gut. Directly after training ingest simple carbs for a quick insulin spike.

    Regarding carbs and hypertrophy, there are different schools of thought. Most agree though that the insulin spike caused by ingesting carbs is important post-workout. Whether you'd want to go low carbs or very low carbs is a matter for yourself. However way you choose to eat, ingest your carbs in and around your workout for that insulin spike. Even if you'd want to go as low as 50g carbs/day, eat/drink most of it around your training.

    I've been eating around 100-150g per day for a while with decent results. I'm only just now experimenting with even lower carbs for a bulk. Obviously fats and protein goes up.

    Start rant...

    I read something a while ago that stuck in my mind: Carbohydrates drives insulin drives fat.

    A high carb diet is constantly giving you insulin spikes troughout the day causing the glucose (sugar) in your bloodststream to be stored in our fat cells. This in turn causes your insulin levels to remain higher longer as the pancreas 'thinks' the level of insulin produced is not enough, thus produces more. The evil cycle has begun.

    Now, for a short period of time ie. during a bulking cycle, the body can handle this. But for a prolonged time, the typical western high carb diet is far from optimal. Eat enough carbs to replenish glycogen stores after heavy training and no more is the key IMO.

    End rant....
  18. BPM

    BPM Member

    Thanks a lot for the info fellas. This will be a huge help to me.

    Your probably right. I guess I always thought a clean diet was one made up entirely of whole foods.

    And Totz I'll add more fruits etc to my carb count and try to be more strategic with carb consumption timing. I am a bit leery about consuming sugars, but a little won't hurt. I do use malto or waxy maize pre/post though.

    @Tryintologin: I was told that slower digesting (complex) carbs cause a less intense insulin spike, and simple carbs cause more acute spikes. This is why I have been staying away from sugars, and consuming complex carbs.

    From what I think I understand from your post: insulin levels will be high regardless of the type of carb ingested. Right?
  19. Tryingtologin

    Tryingtologin Member

    No, you are right in thinking complex carbs do not cause anywhere near the same insulin spike as simple carbs. What I was ranting against was a constant, prolonged diet containing simple carbs as it is quite detrimental to your long term health as is often seen in the modern western diet. Basically all white potatoe, pasta and sugars are out.

    This is my opinion only, so take it for what it's worth. As I see it, for general health your diet should contain no more than 100-150 grams of carbs per day. A vast majority of that should stem from complex carbs. I would take simple carbs in and around my training to replenish the glycogen stores. When eating like this and exercising, you become a fat burning machine and you become insulin sensitive (a good thing) as excersised muscles basically wants to be fed and will do so more efficiently which means less is stored in your fat cells.

    When bulking, there are two options as I see it.

    1. Keep carbs low. Up fat and protein to your projected calorie requirement. This way you will not jeopardise your health with constant insulin spikes (which in theory should minimise your fat gain). I can not speak from experience as to the efficiency of such a bulk, as I just started my experiment ( I go to about 30g carbs/day with one refeed day per week).

    2. Increase carbs. Eat as much complex carbs as possible and substitute with simple carbs until you reach your calorie target. This method is tried and tested and obviously works.

    What I think Sci and Totz are saying is that in a general calorie sense, it does not matter whether you eat complex or simple carbs as long as you reach your target. Trying to eat 500g complex carbs is next to impossible, even if you eat a crap load of sweet potatoes so if you choose the carb bulking route, you will need to eat some simple carbs. For a young person who is trying to bulk on and off during the year I doubt the health risk is that large, as by default you are exercising if you are bulking.... and therefore you are improving your insulin sensitivity.

    So, as I said, this is only my opinion and as I mentioned earlier in the thread, I come from a crossfit/paleo background so I am possible a bit brainwashed... Try and see what works best for you.

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