How many carbs you should eat per day is one the most widely argued topics in health and fitness. Do you choose a one-size-fits-all approach like keto? Do you simply try to moderate your carb intake? Should you track your macros religiously? Let me give you some news – none of that is necessary.

People are asking me all the time, “Kevin, what do you think about low carb dieting? What do you think about a high carb approach? What about balance? Isn’t it best to just take a moderate approach to this kind of stuff?”

Before we talk about adequate and optimal carbohydrate intake, make sure you understand the truth about carbohydrates. There’s so much dogma floating around and it’s easy to get tripped up by it.

Additionally, it’s important to understand that these things have to be individualized. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

Lastly, carbohydrates need to come from safe sources. So if you’re eating a bunch of bread and pasta and all this other nonsense, I’m not talking to you. You’re not doing anything that’s oriented toward health, so I don’t know why you’re asking the question.

Just a little tough love there.

When I talk about safe sources of carbohydrates I’m talking vegetables, fruits, berries, and even starches like rice and potatoes. I’m not talking about breads and pastas and cereal grains.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about my approach to carbohydrate intake. I think this is a really intuitive approach and it requires absolutely no macronutrient tracking or counting, or any other obsessive capital-D Dieting strategies.

What I advise people to do – and the plan that I follow myself – is very simple. I match carbohydrate intake to my activity levels. And this changes, so you can’t possibly be a low carb person or a high carb person in my eyes. You carbohydrate intake should be dynamic.

Last week, I was extremely active. I was swimming. I was biking. I was doing sandbag training. I was doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes. That creates a physiological demand for more carbohydrates. So last week I was eating higher carbohydrate.

If you’re an athlete and you are banking on being a high performer, you definitely have a higher physiological demand for carbohydrates. Therefore, you should probably eat a higher carbohydrate diet (assuming you’re staying active in that context).

Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. If you are working in a cubicle all day, pretty much every day, there’s not a lot of activity going on. You don’t have a physiological demand for carbohydrates. So a lower carbohydrate protocol would work well for you.

Keep in mind that this all can change in the blink of an eye. Just because you’re following a low carbohydrate protocol this week doesn’t mean that next week you can’t be high carbohydrate.

Perhaps you start training for a triathlon next week because you just signed up for one. Last week, all you were doing was walking and desk jockeying. Guess what? Your carbohydrate requirements just changed!

So this is the flexible and dynamic approach that I take. You look at your activity levels. You match your carbohydrate intake to those activity levels. That’s it. You live your life. You have fun. You enjoy your happiness. There’s no tracking, no counting, no micro-managing. All that nonsense is out of your life.

That’s my approach. If you have questions or need more guidance and support, come work with us in the Rebooted Body Academy. Stop binge-reading articles and come change your life.

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Comments

  • Wenchypoo says:

    The one thing that’ll tell you if you’re consuming the right amount of carbs, and the RIGHT TYPE of carbs, is the BG meter. Don’t go assuming something is safe unless your meter tells you it is–some of us can’t handle supposedly “safe” starches and/or normal-sized servings of veggies.

    Your meter will tell you if a carb is safe or not. Use it. Also, don’t forget that Kevin’s audience is mostly made up of young, healthy people. Those who are older, and/or with compromised pancreases, have different needs, and follow different advice.

    • Kevin Geary says:

      I don’t think people should be metering themselves on a regular basis. It’s too obsessive. If you have a medical condition that affects blood glucose regulation, then it’s obvious this video isn’t for you. I must correct your statement that the majority of my audience is young, healthy people. That’s absolutely NOT the majority of my audience.

      • Ericka says:

        Agreed Kevin! 41 year old former (and self-cured) pre-diabetic IBS sufferer here! I’m willing to bet your audience is made up of a LARGE number of my generation that grew up as “latchkey kids”, the first generation raised on mostly processed foods. We are getting sick of being sick, tired of being tired, we want our waistlines back!!
        What were my choices? Metformin at 37? Drug after drug to manage my digestive issues and anxiety? What kind of future did I have?
        No way.
        So here I am, trying to undo the damage that’s been done to me for the last 40 years. Heath isn’t just for the young’uns, it’s for us geezers too. 😉
        Thanks for all you do Kevin, I appreciate you!

      • Kevin Geary says:

        Thank you Ericka — you’re absolutely right. Your generation is the vast majority of my clients and readers/listeners. Thanks for the comment — and keep kicking butt to heal 🙂

  • Anu Simpkinson says:

    Finally a great way to think about carbohydrates! I can never seem to get this right, especially when I exercise.

    The video from the car was great – but I kept wondering when you were going to put your seat belt on!

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