What Amber at Go Kaleo said re carbs, metabolic health, and exercise (emphasis mine):
I loved this short, and to the point post from Melkor on facebook today:
“If you’re inactive, you probably don’t need much in the way of carbs. But humans aren’t metabolically normal unless they’re active on a regular basis. So the healthy solution isn’t to go low-carb, it’s to increase activity level to the point where you need the carbs”
The relationship between metabolic health and exercise is one primary focus of my blog here, so when someone else says so succinctly what I believe is an important and far too often completely and willfully ignored truth, I think it’s worth highlighting. …
Metabolically healthy people do not need to be on macronutrient restrictive diets. Metabolically dysfunctional people may need to follow restrictive diets, but their long-term goal should be to return the body to healthy metabolic function, and the primary way to do that is regular physical activity.
Your mileage may vary, but I think that one of the biggest public health failures in the last couple of decades is going to turn out to be treating exercise as largely a way to burn calories.
I’m completely with Melkor. It’s not clear to me (yet) which is more problematic to us, but it’s clear that neither our highly processed food diets nor our desk- and couch-oriented sedentary lives bear much (any) resemblance to those of our ancestors.
So if you’re not into exercise (maybe because you’ve read that exercise won’t make you thin), consider that:
- “fitness is almost certainly more important than fatness”
- exercise may help “rebalance our natural ability to regulate energy intake”
- it may also help our body’s “regulatory system work better.”
I’m not alone in being intrigued by the non-calorie benefits of exercise. Back in early 2011, Yoni Freehoff posted about the link between exercise and healthy eating behaviors:
Saw a lovely patient the other day. She’d been doing great with our program, had lost 7% of her body weight, and was thrilled to pieces. About a month ago however, she developed an injury, and as a consequence, her exercise dropped down to nothing. Wanna know what else dropped down to nothing?
Her healthy eating behaviours.
She stopped food diarizing, snacking, including protein, and having enough calories for breakfast. As a consequence, she’s started struggling in the evening again and has gained a few pounds. …
That’s why despite raging against the notion that exercise alone is sufficient for significant weight loss, and regularly stating that exercise should never be promoted singularly for weight management, I include exercise as an integral component of our office’s program.
And more recently, psychologist Kelly McGonigal talked about exercise as a potential “miracle cure for willpower.” She describes a study that essentially supports what Yoni describes: regular exercise helped people have more control in other willpower domains. Dr. McGonigal theorizes that this is because “something about the metabolic demands, particularly cardiovascular exercise, that seems to improve the cardiovascular health of the brain and increase the health of the prefrontal cortex specifically.”
I eat lower carb (at PHD levels), not low-carb, but I also think you should do what works for you. Some of us do better with lower carbs, some do better with more. [Interestingly, in his famous A TO Z study, Christopher Gardner found folks who were insulin resistant did better on a lower carb diet; see his comments ~40:00.]
But regardless of your carb intake, I would definitely suggest adding in some physical activity … and not for the calories. You were meant to move!