A question of carbs

This is probably a stupid question but here goes.
We are constantly told to get approx 65-70% of our calorie intake from complex carbs and avoid sugars as much as possible but what would happen to our bodies if we had the correct daily amount of calories as per our metabolic rate needed but got them all from sugars rather than starches? Please assume that all necessary vitamins are allowed for as this is only hypothetical.

Cheers Nick


  • Dunno, Nick. The experts are divided (aren't they always) between the glycaemic-index obsessionals and those who say it doesn't make a bit of difference (except perhaps to your teeth) whether you get all your carbs from millet porridge or Lucozade Sport, your body will handle them all in the same way after digestion.

    I'd expect more dramatic blood glucose swings on an all-sugar diet than on a mixed diet, but that's just extrapolation of the insulin-spike theory rather than a definite fact.

    I wouldn't fret too much about the advice given in articles about what runners should be eating. It's always "eat enough to fuel and repair your body" on the one hand, and "eat low-fat this and sugar-free that" on the other. Running should free us from that sort of tyranny, not enslave us, and I've found that a preference for healthy food most of the time (not all, definitely not all!) follows the training.

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • Hear hear vrap!
  • Yessss! Benz and I are on the same side at last! Mind you, I don't see any opposition yet. C'mon, sports nutrition professionals! The Raptor wants a fight! Oi, you, Liz Applegate! Come aboard and tell us how you managed to get a bagel and honey, a banana and a few spoonfuls of yogurt to add up to a 1,000 calorie breakfast. Either your abacus needs recalibrating or the bagels in America are the size of cartwheels. And who eats bloody bagels anyway?
  • Ok vrap
    My sister is on the Atkins diet and the BAG has lost quite a bit of weight
    I keep telling her its no good for her exercise, she has plantar fasciitis, so isnt doing anything, but what if shes right?
    even a fat patient has lost two stones on this diet( I warned them abot renal stones, what a cow!)
    i couldnt do it, carb addict me
    Anyway, half of my brain which hasnt fallen out is on your side!!
    Nephrology is based on anecdotes, and seems like it always will be
  • Just because a particular diet allows you to lose weight doesn't mean that it is the healthiest way to do so. Look at the Survivor TV program where they were eating mostly rice. Of course they lost weight, but where was their fruit and veg and dairy intake? I'm not expert, but it seems to me to be a bad thing to cut out a major food area. Everything in moderation, I say. (Except carbs of course, I eat loads of them, though I'm sure I also have my fair share of the other food groups.)
  • Bet your sister is losing weight because she never gets invited out to dinner because her breath smells foul on the Atkins diet, Benz.

    I couldn't do it either. The worrying thing about the Atkins diet is that the science is ALMOST plausible.
  • Many thanks folks, it was a question we were debating in the pub ( I didn't mention alcohol as this would confuse the issue even more) and nobody really knew the answer, I quite like sugary things but always feel that I am affecting my athletic prowess (ha ha)by indulging myself, I do keep an eye on my calorie intake so I have made an executive decision to not really worry about it any more, have a good weekend everyone


  • Benz.
    My mate is also on the Atkins' diet and has lost 10 kilos. She looks better, but I don't think the diet can be considered 'healthy' in any way. Low carbs, high fat and protein. No doctor is going to say that is a good make-up of your daily intake surely?

    I disagree with fad diets. Life isn't meant to be that hard, complicated or boring.
    Quality of life dictates to me that I sometimes need that piece of cheesecake, I just don't include it in my regular diet.

    Regular exercise + healthy diet = fit and trim

    I will wait to see my mate (and your sister) in a year's time when they're back on carbs (the cravings got too much - I mean - how long can someone live without a fish supper?) and their weight has gone crazy. Diets shouldn't be an obssession. Running should though! ha ha
  • Beth, I totally agree
    It cant be healthy not to eat fruit and veg, and then a high fat diet
    Problem is that it DOES seem to work for some people, and not just in the short term
    makes you wonder
    Im fat and sensible
  • "Long term" equals "lifetime".
    "Weight loss" does not mean the same thing as "good health", although for a lot of people losing weight IS the most important step they can take towards good health.
    "Atkins diet" equals commercial pseudoscience by a health professional with an eye on making a fortune in the consumer market.
    But we're all different, and some athletes perform better on a higher protein diet, and Fluffa thrives on a vegan diet while I wasted away when I tried to be vegan.
  • Why did you do vegan vrap?

    On the longterm note, im fat, but reasonably fit, and have been the same weight for 10 years
    maybe i was meant to be large?
  • I did vegan for Lent one year when I was a student, because I wanted to do something that would feel like a genuine sacrifice without having to give up chocolate or alcohol.

    It was awful. I had permanent fibre overload, and within 5 weeks (at which point I quit) I had gone from nicely covered to seriously spiky.

    Better to be slightly plump (I don't remember the person in the Ruthie T-shirt at the GNR being fat) and active than a skinny sofa spud. How many of your contemporaries have managed not to gain any weight in 10 years? I have the delight of having been the fat kid at school and now, at almost the same height and weight as I was at 14, being a lot less fat than some of the girls who used to comment on my wobbliness.
  • Ah, you had that peripheral vision problem
    Am 3 stone overweight, but its solid and doesnt wobble
    Too much on my plate to diet, shall keep exercising though
    Couldnt do vegan, it seems SO restrictive
  • Dr. Atkins, incidentally, reportedly had a heart attack last year. How healthy.
  • ooh good
    Gloat gloat
    Mind you, didnt that Jim Fixx bloke die when running/
  • Jim Fixx was a heavy smoker with a terrifying family history of heart disease and outlasted his father's lifespan by about 6 years. He'd also, apparently, failed to seek medical advice for the chest pains he'd had for some time. Probably afraid his doc would tell him to stop running.

    Ill health can strike any of us and risk factors are only statistics. Saying "do as I do and you'll remain healthy" is just asking to be on the receiving end of God's sense of humour.
  • (a) Bagels in America can be enormous (as can everything else), so I'm not as dubious of that calorie count.
    (b) Great bagels are a wonderful thing. My best friend's grandfather owned and ran a bagel bakery in Brooklyn and, when we were kids, we used to help him clean up every Friday afternoon before the Sabbath -- and take home all the off-cuts and mis-shapen ones that he couldn't sell. He used to say "a good bagel should be like a meal in itself." I have know idea what he meant, but it stuck with me.
    (c) Now I live in the East End of London, and I'm supposed to be able to find great bagels on Brick Lane, but have never been satisfied by the dry, skinny little things they offer up.

    Have some respect for the bagels, please.

    And, hey, as far as diets and stuff go: whatever works. Atkins schmatkins. If a radical change in diet works for some people and can trigger examination/improvement/empowerment in their eating and maybe even other parts of their lives, then great for them. I hope it lasts for a long time and doesn't become part of an ultimately destructive rollercoaster ride (which is something I have witnessed in my family, who all follow these fads obsessively and yet seem to be as obese, lethargic and unhappy as ever).

    I hate fad diets, too, just as much as I hate fad exercise crazes, but take up what interests you and leave the rest for the fad-followers.
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