Top 10 Carb Intake Rules

Article by Chris Richards, Personal Trainer, Chris Richards Personal Training

(Adapted from Charles Poliquin’s Top 10 Carb Intake Rules For Optimal Body Composition)

Carb Intake Rules







1. Eliminate grains, particularly wheat. This is the most important principle regarding carb intake. Wheat influences blood sugar levels the same way as plain table sugar.

2. Yes, eliminate grains, part II: Gliadin family grains such as oats, wheat, spelt are the most common food allergen. People of the Celtic ancestry, are more likely to be gluten allergic. Besides raising insulin levels in the body and their rapid carb intake, grains also release cortisol in response to the stressor, a food allergen.

3. The main source of carbs should be fibrous. Fibrous carbs typically have very low carb content. Their inherent high fibre brings about a very moderate insulin response, thus making them an ideal fat loss food. The best sources of fibrous carbs include:

Green beans
All forms of peppers

4. The darker the fruit, the better it is for you. Dark fruits tend to have very thin skin, (hence they need to produce more anti-oxidants to protect themselves from the sun). That is why darker fruits are great anti-inflammatory foods. Bananas have thick skins therefore they have lower anti-oxidants contents.

5. The darker the fruit, the better it is for you, part II. The darker the fruit, the lower the glycemic load. Again, compare berries, and cherries to bananas and pineapple. Of course, this applies to fruits in their natural state; when grapes become raisins, their glycemic index goes up because of dehydration of the fruit.

6. Replace grains with greens in sandwiches. This one is promoted by Jonny Bowden, author Living The Low Carb Life: Instead of using bread, use dark leafy greens to wrap the meat. It will slow down the glycemic index and help shift in your favour the acid/alkaline base.

7. Limit fructose intake. Even though fruits are great foods loaded with nutrients, they also contain fructose. Fructose in too high quantities can slow down thyroid function and increase glycation. Glycation in layman’s term is browning, like the browning that makes crust in bread. Glycation is the cross linking of proteins (and DNA molecules) caused by sugar aldehydes reacting with the amino acids on the protein molecule and creating Advance Glycosylation End-products (AGE’s). If you want to see protein cross linking in action, cut an apple in half and watch it turn yellow! Very few people realize that glucose can go through oxidation. Why is the worst glycation agent fructose? Because it does not raise insulin. In other words, the insulin is not getting it into muscle cells. Therefore, it lingers around and wreaks metabolic havoc. As nutrition expert Robert Crayhon would say: fructose is like the guest that won’t go home once the party is over. Crayhon recommends that the average person should eat no more than 5-10 grams of fructose a day! For very active individuals, 20 grams of fructose should be the maximum intake.

One of the worst sources of glycating fructose is the weight loss bars containing high fructose corn syrup.

8. The best time to load up in carbs is the first 10 minutes following your workout. Since insulin sensitivity is at its highest after the workout, this is the time to take in your carbs to maximize muscle mass gains. The greater the number of reps per training unit, the greater the carbohydrate intake. Of course, one can assume that all reps are equal. A squatting or deadlifting rep is more demanding than a curling or triceps extension rep. By the same token, 3 reps slow tempo squats has different caloric demand than 3 reps in the power clean. As a general rule, I would recommend the following carbohydrate intake based on training volume for a given workout:

12-72 reps per workout: 0.6 g/Kg
73-200 reps per workout: 0.8 g/kg
200-360 reps per workout: 1.0 g/kg
360-450 reps per workout: 1.2 g/kg

9. Use insulin sensitivity supplements with high-carb post workout meals. Nutrients like taurine, arginine and magnesium will help dispose of glucose to muscle cells instead of fat cells.

10. Add protein to your post-workout carb intake. Using 15 g of protein for every 50 lbs of bodyweight will increase glycogen storage by as much as 40%.

Chris Richards

Chris Richards

Chris Richards is an expert Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach with a wide-read knowledge and has experience working with professional athletes. He is a sought after fitness specialist, whose primary goal is to ensure your results and dreams are made a reality, with a strong emphasis on nutrition and lifestyle management. Chris specialises in one-to-one training using his functional strength and conditioning methods and Kettlebell training to achieve maximal results in the quickest possible time.

Chris is based in the city centre of Edinburgh and has an ever growing number of fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter

Chris Richards Personal Training can also be found at where there is an interactive blog with great content for you to check out.  Chris is also available to answer any of your further questions at

“The human body combined with patience, focus, education and an unyielding spirit allows for the achievement of any goal!”

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