Do You Know Nutrition: Permanent eating regimen better than temporary diet

By Phylis Canion
Dec. 31, 2013 at 6:31 a.m.

Like so many others, today will start my new eating regimen. My question is what is a safe number of carbohydrates that I should consume daily to stay healthy and maintain weight?

A healthy eating regimen is much safer and more effective than a diet.

An eating regimen should be more permanent than the temporary diet, fad or otherwise. Carbohydrates are comprised of three types: starches, sugars and fiber. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends 45 to 65 percent of your daily caloric intake be comprised of carbohydrates. Translated, that means that if you consume 1,300 calories a day, you should eat between 146 and 211 grams of carbohydrates daily.

Unfortunately, the United States leads the world in daily food consumption at 3,500 calories a day. That means the average American currently consumes about 340 grams of carbohydrates daily. This is 20 percent higher than the average just 40 years ago. I think this calculation is cataclysmic. Unless you carry a calculator in your pocket, trying to figure out what percentage of your diet should be carbs can be very frustrating. Did you know that a 1.5-liter of soda contains about 200 grams of carbohydrates? And yes, what we drink adds to the total number of daily carbs - and our waists - very quickly.

Cereals are the No. 1 major carbohydrate-containing food in the human diet, and the No. 1 preference to breakfast, compared to 50 years ago when breakfast was a high-protein meal of eggs and bacon.

Remember the carbohydrates in sugar as well. In 1822, the average consumption of sugar per person was 6 pounds per year. In 2000, the average sugar consumption per person rose to a whopping 107 pounds per year. I do not eat sugar, so someone is getting my share. I believe an easy rule of thumb is to consume between 50 and 60 grams of carbohydrates daily. Monitor your weight and adjust accordingly. Make healthy carbohydrate choices, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, avoid toxins, think positive thoughts, appreciate life, relax more and enjoy 2014.

Thought for the week: Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right. - Oprah Winfrey

Start the year out by attending the free nutrition class at the Organic Emporium at 7 p.m. Jan. 13.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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