Balanced Bites Podcast Episode #232: All About Carbs with Christine Hronec – Part 2

All About Carbs - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced BitesTopics:
1.  News and updates from Diane [1:55]
2.  Something new that I’m into: apples and herbal tea [3:58]
3. Reintroducing Christine Hronec [5:42]
4. A few words of follow-up from part 1 [10:46]
5. Adding back carbs and gaining weight [16:29]
6. Adrenal fatigue and carbs [26:22]
7. Carb timing [33:53]
8. Carbs on rest days versus training days [36:33]
9. Leftover macros at the end of the day [38:01]
10. An Abstainer Rebel with a weakness for carbs [45:13]
11. Eating more carbs without triggering cravings [47:13]
12. Low FODMAP carbohydrate sources [51:19]
13. Counting macros versus counting calories [52:40]
14. Carbohydrates and balancing hormones [56:45]
15. Final word on carbohydrates [57:53]
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All About Carbs - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites All About Carbs - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites All About Carbs - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites
You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 232.
Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Liz is a nutritional therapy practitioner, and the best-selling author of Eat the Yolks and The Purely Primal Skincare Guide. Together, Diane and Liz answer your questions, interview leading health and wellness experts, and share their take on modern paleo living with their friendly and balanced approach. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Diane Sanfilippo: Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the show. Today I, Diane, and here without my fabulous, typical co-host Liz. But I have an amazing guest who is back for part 2; I’m talking to Christine Hronec today, all about carbs. But before we get into my chat with Christine, let’s hear a word from one of our sponsors.
Liz Wolfe: Our podcast sponsorship today comes from Vital Choice, an online purveyor of the world’s best wild seafood delivered right to your door; because juggling a busy life shouldn’t mean you have to forgo healthy meals. At, you’ll find wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, tuna, sable fish, and cod, as well as prawns, crab, and scallops. You’ll also find grass-fed organic Wagyu beef, free range heritage chicken, fresh frozen organic berries, and dark organic chocolates. Make a vital choice by eating the highest quality food you can. Vital Choice; come home to real food.
1. News and updates from Diane [1:55]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright. So, I also need to give you guys a bunch of updates before I get chatting with Christine here. So very quickly; next 21-Day Sugar Detox is kicking off on March 7th. So if you’ve been waiting and curious about doing that, definitely come check it out Or, if you’ve done it before and you wanted to jump back in for a spring detox, you can make sure that you check that out and sign up for daily detox emails right from within the membership site.
A couple of other things; this coming weekend… So this episode airs on February 25th, so if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area February 27th there’s an event at UCSF. It’s for everyone, not just for practitioners. I will not be speaking, but I am going to be attending, so if you’re curious about that event, come over to and check out the podcast show notes, and I’ve got a link to that. Chris Kresser will be there, Robb Wolf, Michelle Tam, Chris Masterjohn, a whole bunch more. Definitely do not miss that one if you’re in the Bay area.
And, coming up on the weekend of March 11th, if you’re in the Los Angeles, Anaheim, SoCal area; actually don’t know exactly where Anaheim is, is it closer to LA or closer to San Diego? I don’t know. {laughs} Anyway, it’s definitely in southern California. I’ll be down there, I believe I’ll be at the first day of Expo West whenever that is. I’m not sure which date it is, but whatever the first day of the big expo is, I’ll be down there milling around, so if you or someone you know will be there please say hi, let me know. Tag me on Instagram, all that fun stuff.
And then, finally, on March 17th in Portland, Oregon. Live recording of the Balanced Bites podcast. So anybody who is in driving distance, like a couple of hours, make it a girls’ weekend. Hit Thursday, Friday, and the weekend up in Portland if you are not from there. Definitely come join us, it’s going to be super fun and as of now I think it’s at least a third of the way sold out, so if you’re hearing this and you’ve been hesitating, it’s probably pretty close to sold out, so do not wait on that.
2. Something new that I’m into: apples and herbal tea [3:58]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, let’s do a new thing we’re into lately. Christine; not even introducing you again yet.
Christine Hronec: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: But we had you on just a couple of weeks ago, so for our regular listeners, they’ll know a little bit about you. We’ll have you introduce yourself a little more in a second here. But, tell me what’s a new thing you’re into lately, because last time I believe it was your weight vest, right?
Christine Hronec: Correct, yes. But right now, I’m actually into apples, as random as that sounds. I’ve been relying on apples to help me through any sugar cravings, or any time I’m just feeling the urge to eat a whole lot of something I probably shouldn’t be {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Christine Hronec: I reach for an apple, and it sets me straight. Along with vanilla chai tea; I’ve been obsessed lately with this vanilla chai tea from Bigelow and Sons. It’s amazing; it’s very aromatic, and it legit wards off my sugar cravings. Especially at night; anyone who wants to bite into a cookie.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Christine Hronec: It literally, it’s an experience. You have to have it, it’s an experience.
Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. Those are really good ones because actually those are perfect for anybody who might be on a meal plan with you; they’re also perfect for people on the 21-Day Sugar Detox because we have green apples that are included on the program, and that’s actually perfect. People who are on the program, like a week in, that apple is so much sweeter, you know? {laughs}
Christine Hronec: Oh for sure.
Diane Sanfilippo: And we love herbal teas on the detox program. Anything, as long as it’s not sweetened, we love any kind of herbal teas. And that’s a perfect one.
Christine Hronec: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: Something with that spice.
Christine Hronec: Yes!
Diane Sanfilippo: That cinnamony goodness. It makes you feel like you’re eating baked goods.
Christine Hronec: Absolutely.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh the trickery.
Christine Hronec: {laughs}
3. Reintroducing Christine Hronec [5:42]
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So this is a part 2; we did part 1, all about carbs, just a few weeks ago. I believe that was episode 228. So if you missed that, and you’re starting to listen right now, I do recommend that you hop over to, check back in the archives for the podcast episode 228. You can listen to it right there; you can also grab it in iTunes, Stitcher, etc., wherever you can get podcast episodes downloaded to your device. But I highly recommend that you listen to that one first, because you’ll get the foundation of everything we were talking about and then you’ll understand a lot of the follow up that we’re talking about today and some of the new questions that we have and new clarity that we want to present here from Christine.
So, what I just want to say introducing this is that the previous episode was based on a lot of questions that you guys had and some foundational information from Christine. But it wasn’t the end all, be all of Christine’s take on every macronutrient, Christine’s entire take on carbohydrates and how they play into every scenario of everybody’s life. So of course, hopefully today we can cover a lot more of that. Who knows {laughs} if we’re going to cover all of it again. We may; we may still be at the end of this episode and think, “We need to come back and do it again.” Who knows. But carbs are a super hot topic, we wanted to address this again with you guys. So I’m going to introduce Christine and let her just remind you guys very, very briefly of who she is in her background and then we’ll just get right into it with some of the new information here.
Christine Hronec: Thanks Diane. For those of you who are just joining us, it’s my pleasure to be here with Diane today. My name is Christine Hronec. I’m the founder and CEO of Gauge Girl Training, an online meal planning and coaching service. I’m a food scientist and I’m a chemical engineer by training. I actually co-own a manufacturing company that makes dietary supplements, and I’ve been doing online coaching for about 4 or 5 years now with the company Gauge Girl Training that I started.
One thing I did want to say in introducing myself today is that I’m coming from the perspective of a metabolic lens. So I tend to view nutrition from a metabolism lens, and I’m grounded in biochemistry and how our bodies process nutrients from that perspective. I’m not coming from any specific perspective of high carb is good, low fat is bad, or any type of dogma of any type of diet, per se. I look at things from a metabolic lens, I look at things based on biochemistry, and help people adopt solutions based off of what’s going to work for their body type as well as their lifestyle needs.
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So, we did have a lot of questions last time. One of the themes that I feel like people were getting from that episode, which isn’t necessarily your entire take, as you just said, but people came away from that episode feeling like everyone should be eating a lot of carbs all the time, and that’s a broad sweeping generalization that you’re trying to make. And I know from working with you that that’s not the case, it just sort of happens to be the population of, largely women but also men, who come to you when you look at what they’re currently eating, you look at their goals and their lifestyle, the shift that ends up being made, I think, most of the time is that they’re getting more carbs, probably less fat, and they’re getting more protein.
So, what do you think is happening there? What’s going on with, just in general, people who are scared of carbs. Somehow they feel like carbs are only going to make them gain weight, or we got so used to not being afraid of fat that we then kind of got scared of carbs. What do you think is happening there? And then I think we want to get into some talk about body types, because I know that is a big, big question that people have.
Christine Hronec: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of dogma out there about carbohydrates that carbs are bad, and carbs do cause the body to bind water. That is a legitimate fact. One gram of carbohydrates binds 2.7 grams of water, so if you do eat a lot of carbs yes you are going to bloat, yes you are going to gain a little bit of water weight. But the problem is, carbohydrates they boost our insulin. Insulin, everybody thinks of insulin as the fat storing hormone, but the point I was trying to reiterate in our last episode was that insulin is also a muscle building hormone, and that there is a tipping point for the proper balance that each person is going to need, and that’s going to vary person to person. Because without carbs, it’s going to be pretty challenging to build muscle. Protein alone won’t build muscle. There’s a synergy between protein and carbohydrates, as it supports our body’s ability to build muscle and as we build muscle to support fat loss.
4. A few words of follow-up from part 1 [10:46]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so I know that you had a bunch of other notes and your own take on holes in the conversation that we had just because we were answering a bunch of questions, and it was kind of putting you on the spot with a lot of questions, but really I know that you have some more foundational stuff that you want to talk about, and I wanted to give you a little bit of space and time on this episode to just kind of dig in and give us a little bit more of your background on the way that you look at how much carbohydrate is somebody going to be eating, and I know that’s going to have to do with other macronutrients. Which, we’re not going to get into a lot of details of fat and protein today. Maybe that’s something we’ll talk about later. But why don’t you just spend a little more time filling in whatever it is that you feel like you needed to get out there so people could understand.
Christine Hronec: Certainly. I think that it’s very challenging to answer some questions like, “Well how many carbs should I be taking in?” it’s a very one-dimensional question because it’s going to depend on your goals. I think the best way to take a look at that is to discuss ratios, and to discuss goals. The three common goals are fat loss, weight gain, and maintenance. Those are the three most common goals. But even with fat loss, not everybody necessarily wants to lose fat. Some people just want to drop weight, and not everybody needs to be on a high protein diet. Not everybody needs to be in a position where it’s high protein, high fat, low carb, or high protein, high carb low fat. It depends on what they want for their body, what they want for that point in their life, for their lifestyle. It’s going to depend on your goals; it’s also going to depend on your body type. And some body types are predisposed to be a little bit more sensitive to carbs. And I think because of that, that’s going to greatly impact what macronutrient ratio will work for that person.
I don’t really like saying arbitrarily; oh, high carb, low carb. Because that’s so relative. What are we basing that off of? Because if we’re going to base that off of what the FDA says; if you look at any nutrition facts panel right now, there is a recommended daily allowance for protein, carbs, and fat. That’s based off of a 2000-calorie diet, and the FDA tells us we should have 300 grams of carbs a day. {laughs} So, if that’s what we’re using as our baseline as regular or standard or just the baseline, it’s all going to be relative. Because for some people, they may think less than 50 grams is low carb, for the keto group. But for other people, being sub-150 is technically low carb relative to what the FDA says you should be having.
So I think the constraints and boundaries of what is low carb needs to have a reference point. And that reference point, I would say, the best place to base that off of is to base it off of what the FDA says. And the reason I’m saying that is because it’s the universal standard for which everything in My Fitness Pal is based off of, for percent RDA; it’s the universal standard for the way the government manufactures food. Now is that the right way to go about it? Not necessarily, but this is assuming that a 2000-calorie a day diet is about the average of what the average adult person is going to need. And I like to base things off of universally accepted standards and not made up little niche standards based off of little groups here and there.
So, all that being said, I do think that 300 grams of carbs today is a little bit high for the average person who is not active. For the average activity level. But for the nature of the people probably listening to this podcast, they probably a little bit more active. All that being said, it really needs to be dialed into individual body types and individual goals.
So there are 3 main body types, and we could perhaps discuss this in more length maybe another type, but there are ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. Some people may be a combination of those two, and I believe somotyping is actually very important to determine how to balance your carbohydrates with the other macros. Because there’s different combinations, right? You can go high carb, high protein low fat. And in that type of situation, that’s a very body-building-esque dogma bro science approach. High protein, high fat, low carb, and the thing is, those things work in given different parameters. Given different perspectives. Because it’s all about how our body is going to metabolize fat. And if you shift everything towards one direction versus another, that’s going to change how your body uses the nutrients inside of itself to fuel itself. Our bodies are smart, our bodies are intelligent, and our bodies are trying to survive. So all that being said, one is not necessarily better than another, it’s just a different metabolic pathway.
5. Adding back carbs and gaining weight [16:29]
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, cool. I feel like we had a lot of questions about people who have added carbs back to their diet, and they feel like they just gain weight when they do that, right away.
Christine Hronec: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: And I can tell you based on what I’ve seen with myself, with a lot of cross fitters, which a lot of folks listeners are cross fitters. Some of them are not, but they’re still very active. What we’ve seen in the workshops when Liz and I were teaching workshops as well as podcast questions; what I think happening, and I want to hear from you what are all the factors that people need to consider. So what I think ends up happening is people increase carbs, they forget to adjust everything else {laughs}. They forget to adjust or pay attention to their protein and their fat intake. But what’s happening when people do that? What’s happening when somebody is eating; let’s say they’re eating more fat because they’re no longer scared of fat, which is great, we don’t need to be scared of food in general.
Christine Hronec: Sure.
Diane Sanfilippo: But what’s happening when someone’s like; ok, someone told me I need to eat more carbs because it’s for athletic fueling, or my thyroid, or my adrenals, for whatever reason they need to eat more carbs. Why is it that there are some people they feel immediately like they’re gaining weight from that. What’s going on?
Christine Hronec: There’s an adjustment period, and it needs to be taken in context. So if you’re going to increase carbs, if you are in a caloric surplus, it doesn’t matter per se what your macros are; a caloric surplus is a caloric surplus and you’re going to gain weight if you’re eating more food. {laughs} More food above what your BMR is; what your body’s metabolic rate is of what you need to just thrive and function. So if you are eating above that level and you’re in a caloric surplus, you’re going to gain weight.
So I think there are some baseline questions that people need to answer for themselves first as in, what is my BMR? Your BMR is your basal metabolic rate. It takes into account your age, your height, your total body mass. How many calories does your body need just to function. And then how active are you. So, just taking a step back before we start to blame everything on carbs, and just taking a look at what our body is made up of, how much fuel do we really need per day, and how are we eating relative to that. Because anytime you’re in a surplus, yes you’re going to feel like you’re gaining weight.
But the thing is; if you’re adding carbs back in initially they are going to hold a little bit more water, and there is going to be and adjustment for your body to start using those carbohydrates and using that increase in carbs to boost your insulin, which will help you build muscle. But if you’re not performing and training in a way that’s going to support you using that insulin to build muscle, then it’s not going to be helpful.
Diane Sanfilippo: Cool. I think that’s helpful for people to hear. I think one of the things that happens, because I know this happened, I’m sure, to me is that when people do hear to add more carbs, they forget to perhaps lower their fat intake. I think, like what you’re saying here, is they add the carbs but they’re just adding calories to the top, kind of, without seeing where that rebalancing should happen within their macros overall. And I want you guys to understand this; what Christine is saying makes total sense. The reason why so many people; and I’m not now against eating high fat, lower carb. I’m not for or against any one approach, I think they work for different reasons in different contexts, like Christine said. Both keto and a slightly higher carb, lower fat, like low-ish. I don’t feel like I’m not eating fat, but both of these approaches have worked for me in different contexts, as well as, like lifestyle wise and fitness wise, etc. So I don’t want you guys to feel like, “well, I did this because she said this, but now it’s not right.” Actually, eating low carb was never the right way to go for cross fitting.
Christine Hronec: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not appropriate for that type of activity. Anybody who follows what Robb Wolf has been teaching for years, has been saying this for years. Despite the fact that we’ve got people like Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Davis who wrote Wheat Belly; Dr. Perlmutter wrote Brain Maker and all these other books. They’re talking to the general population who are not all as physically active, and so those people, like Christine said, they might be eating 300 grams of carbs a day, they’re not active, they’re eating poor quality food. Those people need to hear a different story than you guys need to year. You need to fuel your body appropriately for what you’re doing and what your goals are.
Christine, do you think, if this isn’t your area of expertise totally that’s fine, because I know we kind of go back and forth on a lot of topics. So, do you think that one of the things that might happen with people who go from eating low carb, high fat to just all of a sudden tacking on the carbs. One of the things I learned about with low carb is you can kind of become a little bit insulin resistant. It’s not like pathogenic, it’s not like you become diabetic, but after you’ve eaten low carb for months or years, your body kind of down regulates the insulin sensitivity that you have and if you just decide; I’m just going to start eating all these carbs, like all of a sudden, that could be another kind of hormonal reason why it’s overwhelming to the body, a little bit in addition to obviously the calorie overload, you know? Curious about that.
Christine Hronec: Yeah, I think there’s going to be an adjustment stage. Because how our bodies process the nutrients that we are now giving it; our bodies are trying to survive. We feed it certain nutrients, and it has its own metabolic pathway but now we’re changing that. So for instance, if you are on a higher fat, lower carb diet, the thing is our body is used to trying to convert our stored body fat into energy during exercise. But now, our bodies have these additional glycogen reserves that we’re trying to process first when we’re used to tapping into lipolysis and using the ketones and whatnot. So it’s an adjustment. It’s a change. And I think there needs to be a strategic approach in how to implement those changes.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s fair. I think what people need to also understand is just because eating carbohydrates can elicit an insulin response, doesn’t mean that eating carbs is responsible for everyone being overweight if they’re overweight. We know plenty of people who eat a low carb diet and are overweight, and I think to your point, Christine, about caloric balance, I think people forget that one of the reasons why low carb is effective for a lot of people is that it does keep them satiated longer between meals, so they don’t need to eat as often, which is actually very convenient in our lifestyle now.
Christine Hronec: Sure.
Diane Sanfilippo: Like, you’re at work and you don’t want to eat 3 times while you’re at work. It’s much easier to just eat one time. So also I think one of the reasons why I think that’s super effective, being low carb, you don’t have to eat as many times during the day, it’s very satiating. And then what ends up happening is that people do spontaneously eat fewer calories. Like, you can’t just eat low carb but eat in excess of 500 to 1000 calories a day, and have it be effective. The reason it’s effective for a lot of people is that it helps you eat fewer calories because you’re very satiated.
But the same thing can happen, and it’s very interesting, Christine, working with you and going back to eating a little more often, in some ways it is a little stressful because it’s hard to eat that often sometimes. And at the same time, it’s freeing because I’m like; oh, I can eat these carbs again. {laughs} So, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t have your cake and ever eat it; no I’m just kidding. {laughs}
Christine Hronec: {laughing}
Diane Sanfilippo: But you guys, you have to understand that it will change because carbohydrates don’t last as long in terms of satiety. Obviously fiber helps that, but eating low carb, I could eat every 6 hours no problem and just not feel hungry, I would be fine. But I couldn’t eat the same kinds of foods that I’m eating now, which I really enjoy. So I think there’s a lot of different ways to approach this and people need to remember that not one macronutrient is working in a vacuum.
Christine Hronec: Agreed.
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s working in relation to the other two, and it’s also working in relation to your body, your metabolism, your body type, and your activity level.
So, are there more topics that you wanted to touch on here in terms of metabolism and the way that this stuff is working, or do we want to get into questions at this point?
Christine Hronec: Yeah, I think we can get into questions as long as we can address the adrenal issues, because I did want to talk about that a little bit more.
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, do you want to talk about that first? We can do that now.
Christine Hronec: Yeah, sure. Sure.
6. Adrenal fatigue and carbs [26:22]
Diane Sanfilippo: So the question of a lot of people dealing with adrenal fatigue, and what do they do about the carb situation. Ok, let’s talk about that.
Christine Hronec: Yeah, so a lot of people have been asking, “Well, how many carbs should you eat while you have adrenal fatigue?” And I’ve been getting a lot of questions about adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue cannot be looked at from the means of a single macro as a means to overcome it, and I do believe that a comprehensive approach should be taken. There are a few things I did want to touch on to even say, if you have adrenal fatigue, because there are some interesting points that I wanted to bring up that I think would benefit those who have adrenal fatigue, and even those who may have it and don’t even realize it.
So one of the first things you want to do if you think you fall into this boat is to start eating within one hour of waking up. You definitely want to start fueling your body right away. You definitely want to make sure; that’s number one. Number two, you want to be eating a little bit higher protein. I don’t recommend having simple carbs in the morning; nothing like fruit. You definitely want to go over to things like complex carbs. I want to recommend not drinking coffee if you have adrenal fatigue, you want to stick to things like tea. You want to move over towards multiple meals. Probably every two hours if possible, if you are able to, to prevent things like dipping in your cortisol, and even having things like dark chocolate to help boost your serotonin because it’s interesting. If you have this set of condition where; because your adrenal glands are on your kidneys, and if you find yourself craving excess salt, at any point in time, especially at night, you are most likely losing sodium that is associated with the adrenal stress and that’s not a good thing if you are craving extra salt. And in this situation, it’s not just carbs that are going to be helping you. You may be wanting to take in a little bit more salt than normal because you’re losing excess sodium with the stress on your kidneys.
In addition to that, people who have adrenal fatigue tend to have a urine pH that is acidic. Their pH is actually more in the 4-5 range, where a more balanced pH is in the 6-7 range. And because of that, your body is losing acid; that’s actually quite significant, and that needs to be balanced. So by your body excreting acid, you’re losing acid, you’re losing salt, so now your body is a little bit more alkaline, and if you ever just feel like you’re always craving lemon water, or acid, or anything that’s sour, that’s another sign that you may be struggling with something like this.
There are specific foods, obviously, that could best help that, but it’s not just carbs alone. Complex carbs are definitely going to help. You don’t really want to be anything with fruit or anything that’s high in potassium. But the best way to get started on something like this, and I did want to address it because I get asked it all the time, how many carbs should you eat while you have adrenal fatigue; that’s just kind of the tip of the iceberg, when the real question is, how do you address adrenal fatigue. I’m not trying to go off on a tangent here, Diane, on this topic, because we’re talking about carbs but I did want to present a holistic approach; not even holistic, a comprehensive approach to things that you may want to be looking for. So you may want to be taking in more salt, you do want to be eating more often, you do want to be eating more protein, you want to be staying away from coffee. And in addition, you definitely want to stick to things more like walking, because getting too intense on your training is going to be bad for your heart. Until you get yourself to a place where you’re a little bit more stabilized with your energy levels slowly getting that back together, you really don’t need to do anything too intense and walking is actually a great place to start.
So having a little bit more salt, having things like lemon; even apple cider vinegar are great ways to approach the fact that your body is excreting acid and you’re dropping your sodium intake. So those are all important things to consider, in addition to carbohydrates when you have adrenal fatigue. You definitely still need the carbs, and the amount of carbs that person would need it would be a ratio relative to what their goals are. I mean, some people may not need to lose any weight, they just may be all funked up energy wise, and they may just need to be a little bit rebalanced.
Diane Sanfilippo: Cool. Liz and I have talked about adrenal fatigue a few times on this show, back in the archives you guys. If you head over to and click on podcast archives, episodes by topic, you will find a whole alphabetical library; obviously under A, adrenal fatigue is going to be towards the top. You’re going t see multiple episodes, we’ve talked about this. We also talked about it with Dr. Dan Kahlish a long time ago; amazing information and I know a lot of you guys are newer listeners, so I’m sure you haven’t heard all of that, and I actually was going to look; I was going to see what episodes they were because, gosh you guys, it’s back into the archives, it might not even be in the episodes that are in the 100s. I mean, that’s how long ago it was we were talking about this stuff. Oh yeah, episode 15, 39, and 46. So it was a three-parter on adrenal fatigue.
But everything Christine said, I’m totally echoing. For a lot of us, the adrenal fatigue; some of it can come from burnout from exercise, and some of that burnout can come from having gone accidental low carb, which is kind of what we’re talking about. If you’re body needed more carbs, and you feel like you’ve had adrenal fatigue for a couple of months, or someone diagnosed you with it and it’s not been this extensively long thing, it could be as simple as; you’re over training and you’re under fueling with the proper fuel. And for those people, then it might be as simple as getting some more carbs, but for most people it’s multiple things that are feeding into it.
Christine Hronec: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: And then what happens as a result, when you’re exercising you’re losing, you’re depleting vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, all this stuff that a lot of times we forget that we need to replenish ourselves. It is a total lifestyle approach. I know for me moving {laughs} as crazy as it seems, living in California where I can get a little more sunshine, I can have daylight in my face more during the day, my energy is so much better all day. Of course I’ve been on a meal plan with Christine for like {laughs} 4 months or so now, and feeling; I mean my energy is amazing, but it all feeds into each other. It’s not just one thing that’s the magic answer you know, it’s a big puzzle. And tackling everything at once doesn’t work, you have to kind of work on a piece that you can work on for one week, move to the next piece, move to the next piece. So yeah, I think that’s a really good way to approach things.
7. Carb timing [33:53]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so there was a question here; let’s see. This was a good question. There are a couple that I feel like, for both of us, I know a couple of them were just for me specifically, so I’m going to try and get to some of the ones that a little more from both of us. Let’s see; what about carb timing. There are a lot of questions about carb timing. This question is, “Carbs at night, planning carbs around your workout, is there any truth to that or is that all bro science?”
Christine Hronec: Yeah, I think that’s an interesting question and it’s going to depend on one’s body type. In general, I think it is a lot of bro science, because your total macros are what they are. However, there are some body types, especially endomorphs, that do tend to be a little bit more carb sensitive, and for somebody who is an endomorph, and you can Google what an endomorph is, and if that fits you. Endomorphs tend to be a little bit more bottom-heavy, a little bit more pear shaped, tend to gain weight pretty easily. If you’re in that type of scenario, and that’s your body type, you tend to store carbs pretty easily as opposed to if you’re a mesomorph or an ectomorph. And again, you guys can Google and see what I mean by those different body types.
But in that instance, if you are an endomorph body type, and this goes for men and women, it is best for you to time your carbohydrates post workout, because those carbs are more likely to be used to replenish your glycogen as opposed to be stored as fat.
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8. Carbs on rest days versus training days [36:33]
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, we’re back. We had a couple of #pitbullproblems {laughs}
Christine Hronec: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: The pup needed to go out. All good. We love our fur kids.
Christine Hronec: Yes.
Diane Sanfilippo: So, Liz and I have both had many run ins on the last 200 and something episodes of like weird pet noises or who knows what. Alright, so this was a good question. This one first of all, I think it’s a female. You guys, if I can’t tell who you are by your handle I’m going to guess you’re female since most of our listeners are. But this one was, she just said; “I loved part one. Wants to know about carbs on rest days versus carbs on training days.” I think this is a really good question. “Help me get over my fear that carbs won’t make me fat but will help my muscles grow.” So how do we address that on training days versus nontraining days?
Christine Hronec: When you’re not training, it is ok to have carbohydrates to refeed your muscles. Because when you’re resting you’re in recovery, and carbohydrates help to support that process. Recovery is just as important as training, and there’s no need to fear carbs. You’re fueling your glycogen stores and giving yourself even more energy so that when you train again on your next training day, you’re going to be fueled, you’re going to be recovered, and you can kill it in the gym the next time you train. So recover is just as important as training.
9. Leftover macros at the end of the day [38:01]
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, cool. So this is a good question. Ok, Danielle Funk, I don’t know how to say her last name, or whatever it is, {laughs} “Of the 3 macros, would carbs be the best to have “leftover” at the end of the day. Some days it’s really hard to eat all the macros.” First of all, I just think it’s so funny when we’re following a macros plan how we don’t call it food, we’re calling it macros. Which, in some ways I find really funny and in some ways I find really sad. Because you know me, as a food or a food snob {laughs}.
Christine Hronec: Mm-hmm. {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like, I still have macros left. I still have food left to eat. But yeah, what would you say about that. What would be best to have leftover, if you just somehow are not hungry? How should you balance that?
Christine Hronec: If you’re not hungry, I always recommend to get all of the protein, number one; number two I believe it’s ok to be under in fat. I would rather have somebody be under in fat as opposed to being under in carbs, in general just because you need the carbs for that energy, especially if you’re on one of my training plans or if you’re just somebody who is active in the gym and whatnot. You need those carbs. And for the most part, most people are in a caloric deficit and the carbs are ridiculous; we’re not talking about a whole lot of carbs. So you need them for energy, otherwise you’re not going to feel well, you’re going to be weak. So I would rather actually have people dip a little bit lower in fat and that’s just the reason; it’s based off of the nature of how most people, what most people’s goals are and the lifestyle oriented approach that we’re going to take to help them reach those goals in a realistic timeframe. So given those constraints, I would say I would rather have somebody have leftover fat at the end of the day.
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. I definitely never thought the day would come that there’s something that someone tells me I can eat, and it’s left but I am struggling to get all my protein in on some days. I’m not going to lie.
Christine Hronec: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: #Thestruggleisreal. This is beyond a first world problem.
Christine Hronec: {laughing}
Diane Sanfilippo: This is a major first world problem. Ok, we had a bunch of questions about thyroid and thyroid health, and people who have hypothyroidism. Again, we know that you’re not a naturopathic doctor, {laughs} we know this isn’t, “Christine is going to be a one on one endocrinologist for everyone,” so you guys, keep that in mind. We all have to have certain expectations of; you have an expectation of your endocrinologist, they’re obviously not going to create a meal plan for you. So keep that in mind. But I think that people are asking what you recommend for those who are struggling to lose weight or even maintain weight balancing carbs and this whole idea of they are hypothyroid; sometimes they feel better with the carbs but then they gain weight really easily. It’s a delicate balance for them. Is there any advice that you have; something you’ve seen working well with people who are on plans. What can you say about that?
Christine Hronec: I think the best way is to give people a little bit of freedom and flexibility by giving them ranges. I recently did a consult with someone, and they have a goal, they want to reach it in a certain amount of time, but all that being said it’s going to come down to a total amount of calories, which it’s going to be broken down into protein, carbs, and fat. But what I like to do for people who are going to have fluctuations in their energy from day to day, and may need to approach it based off of how they feel. What I like to do for people in that situation is I like to give them a range. Where I’ll say, ok we’re going to give you a range of, I don’t know, from A to B, on days where you’re going to eat A carbs, these are going to be days where you’re not very active, these are going to be days where you’re just going about your plan. But on other days, when you do have the energy to be a little bit more active, you can have the freedom to go up to this threshold based off of how you’re feeling, how your energy level is.
But then I also give them the freedom to say, “Ok you don’t have to eat on the lower end of the spectrum, as long as you’re ok that you’re going to reach your goal let’s say by August as opposed to June.” If they’re ok with that, and they realize it’s going to take some more time, but this is the level that they need to be at to have the proper energy that they need, they’re perfectly fine with that. So I like to give people a little bit of flexibility in that sense, give them ranges, and explain the consequences of those ranges.
Diane Sanfilippo: That sounds like a really good approach, especially because for those of you with hypothyroidism, you know that often your hormone level that you’re taking, it needs to be adjusted on a regular basis, whether that’s maybe at first every three months, six months, what have you. Not only that, but it takes weeks for sometimes that new level that you’ve been given to kind of kick in. So it can be really tricky just depending on what’s happening with your body at the time, and it is a good idea to have a range or have some flexibility in there.
So there are a few questions here that definitely came in that were kind of targeted at me, so I wanted to address these handful of questions. This one was asking if balancing macros can be a realistic goal for an Abstainer Rebel {laughs} with a weakness for carbs. “Any tips?” So this one; ooh, it’s windy over here you guys. I hope you all can’t really hear how crazy windy it is. I feel like I’m in the wizard of Oz and my building is about to get lifted off the ground.
Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants, including me, I’m an NTP, emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia. Fall registration will open June 2016. I know the price is increasing next year, so do not wait. If you see the NTA as part of your future, get started now. You won’t regret it.
10. An Abstainer Rebel with a weakness for carbs [45:13]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so this question about, is it realistic to be on a macros plan if you’re an Abstainer and a Rebel with a weakness for carbs. So here’s what that means for those of you who may have not heard those episodes. Some people are great being Abstainers; meaning they just don’t have any of something. Some people like moderation. I think the vast majority of people who look towards plans and look towards challenges and things like that really are not Moderators. Those of you who follow these approaches really well, you are all or nothing. You want to follow the plan and go for it.
That being said, FYI for those of you who are Moderators, when you are on a plan like a macros plan, it kind of builds in some moderation in a sense because you have some flexibility. If you want to eat something, there’s a way to work it into your day. It may not then balance out that great for the rest of the day. There’s pretty much not room for donuts and ho-ho’s and a slice of pie {laughs} but if you really need to have something, it’s not super black and white.
That being said, if you have a weakness for carbs and you’re typically a Rebel, meaning you don’t like to follow rules, you like to make your own rules, and you like to do things extremely by choice, honestly you guys, you have to be choosing this. As a Rebel, you have to be in enough pain and fed up enough with your current situation to make the choice that following a plan is what you want and what you need, and then it’s really not that hard after that. I’ve done just fine following a plan, and I’m both an Abstainer and a Rebel {laughs} so that’s what I have to say about that.
For those of you who don’t have a struggle with that, following a plan can be very ,very easy. I do find that following a plan like this is kind of just teaching new ways to eat in the longer term.
11. Eating more carbs without triggering cravings [47:13]
Alright, so here’s a question, and Christine you might have something to say about this. I definitely have something to say about it. This question was, “How do you eat more carbs without awakening the carb dragon, especially when grains are not an option.” So I think what she means there is like, she things she would need to eat more fruit, for example, though I don’t know that that’s necessarily true. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you have people who are coming back to eating carbs and they’re either struggling with getting more cravings, or have you seen this not really be an issue at all.
Christine Hronec: I haven’t really seen this be an issue, but it’s just a matter of choosing complex carbohydrates. We’re talking about sweet potatoes, we’re talking about acorn squash, spaghetti squash. We’re talking about pumpkin, beets. Just choosing complex carbohydrates that are going to work for your body and feel right. It might be a limited palate at first, but I think that’s actually a good thing to keep the palate limited at first. Because if this is a change for you, you have to understand that you’re ingesting a new food, your body is seeing a new nutrient. Yes, our bodies are very intelligent, but our bodies are trying to make sure we have all the proper digestive enzymes to break that down. And if you’re initially introducing a huge variety of things, it’s going to take your body a little bit to get efficient at metabolizing and breaking down all these different things. So at first, just stick to one or two complex carbs, and then as your body gets adjusted it would make a lot more sense to add a little bit of variety when it comes to your complex carbohydrates.
Diane Sanfilippo: I definitely think that it’s more of a fear that’s not based in reality, because when you make the shift and you start eating more carbs you actually don’t have the cravings as much when your body needs the carbs and it gets them. So even, you guys, if you’re on the 21-Day Sugar Detox you know I have modifications for those who are active and athletic, and there’s a reason for that. You will be craving sugar more if you don’t eat those foods {laughs}. If you don’t eat the sweet potato and the beets and the things that I tell you to eat, because you’re not giving your body essentially the sugar that it wants. And by fueling properly with squash and beats and sweet potatoes and white potato and whatever it’s going to be instead of a snickers bar, for example, on the cellular level you really do give your body what it’s asking for, and the cravings they don’t come in. they don’t happen physically the same way. It’s so much more just an emotional thing, and I think after just a couple of weeks that emotional crutch that we turn to when it comes to food, it starts to diminish because when you’re following a plan, you’re like this is the plan I’m following, here’s what I’m supposed to eat, it’s going to make me feel good. If it’s not making you feel good, you talk to whoever it was that made the plan and you make adjustments. But your body gets what it needs, and you actually just start to crave the foods that you’re eating, and I find that it actually works just fine. There’s not an issue.
I can’t say how anybody would feel and everybody, because I have not had massive sugar cravings in many years, since creating the Sugar Detox program, but I definitely have not had issues. If I have a craving, it’s more of this I exercised, and I ate a meal, it was a good meal, it had carbs, protein, fat, but a couple of hours later I’m realizing I should be eating again and I do feel like I need those carbs again. It doesn’t feel like a craving, it just feels like my body, my cells need this fuel. It doesn’t feel like I want to eat a snickers bar, it feels like want to go eat my rice or my steel cut oats or whatever it’s going to be. So I think that’s a big difference.
12. Low FODMAP carbohydrate sources [51:19]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, there was a question I just wanted to address quickly because there were lots of people who have this issue. Someone was asking for carb sources when you’re following a low FODMAP diet; you guys, questions like this, this is not me being dismissive at all, but there are very, very, very extensive resources all over the internet. A quick Google search was all I did to find a chart of high and low FODMAP foods. I know what high and low FODMAP foods are within paleo, but I honestly haven’t really thought about high and low FODMAP grains, so I went to go see what comes up on the chart. Gluten free bread and sourdough bread; rice comes up as low FODMAP; oats, gluten free pasta. So, you guys, you’ll be just fine eating pretty much gluten free. Wheat and rye tend to be the highest in FODMAP in terms of grains, so you will not have a problem at all eating lower FODMAP.
I’m pretty sure; I’m not entirely sure if white potato is considered high or low FODMAP. I think sweet potato might be an issue for some people. Also for people who are having issues with FODMAPs, you guys the variation on which types you react to and respond to is such a wide variation that you have to just try different things and see what feels good for you and see what works for you.
13. Counting macros versus counting calories [52:40]
Diane Sanfilippo: So here was one other question, this one is from Green Plate Kate. I know Kate, hey Kate! She wants to know, “Do you just count macros, or do you follow calories as well? Or, do you assume total calories in is not as important as your macro breakdown assuming your eating real food/quality macros. Just curious how the calories in/calories out piece plays in.” So I think, it seems like a basic question, but I think the other thing here is kind of what you were saying, Christine, where if you don’t eat everything what would you leave out. So that is kind of like the total calorie dropping, and then the macro percentage is actually going to drop. But do you have anything you want to make a note on about this one.
Christine Hronec: Sure. I mean, if you are counting your macros by default you are counting calories. So, they are essentially one and the same. I don’t recommend, if you had a plan customized for you where you’re actually following a macros plan, I don’t recommend just arbitrarily changing your ratios based on your mood {laughs} for that day. I do recommend following your plan, but you are by default counting calories by counting macros.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think for some people, if they’re given a macro ratio, for example, here we go. Just as I was saying. My cat has decided to jump on my lap. {laughs} For some who have been given a macro ratio, I think that’s kind of the question that Kate may be asking here. It’s like, let’s say you’re given a ratio, how do the calories play into that. Meaning, are they as important. I know, Christine, the plans that you write always have actual grams of, amounts of. So that does; people ask me why I don’t enter in My Fitness Pal; I’m like, well I’m following the plan I was given, so if I enter it, it’s going to come out and tell me that I just ate what was on my plan {laughs}. So, that would be double counting.
I think to this question, if someone were to say, for example, eat like The Zone is one that people know pretty well, 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein. If someone is told, ok eat this ratio, does the overall calorie count matter? And I know for you it does. You can’t follow that ratio and it’s magical and you’re under eating or overeating, right? You would tell someone, just following that ratio isn’t {laughs} it’s not going to be magic if you’re overeating 1000 calories a day.
Christine Hronec: Agreed. Agreed, yeah. I mean, you certainly; keeping the ratios in mind are helpful, but it only works if you are within the right caloric deficit for your goals and you’re getting enough activity to support your fat loss needs.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think one of the things that people don’t realize with why macro ratios work so effectively, especially when they’re slightly lower in fat, which is something I’ve realized, is that they do tend to have a little bit more protein, right? I mean, people generally are faced with a little more protein intake than they were used to before when they’re given more carbohydrate and a little bit less fat. But the reason all of that needs to adjust is you can’t simply eat more or less of one without affecting the satiety factor and increasing the protein is really going to help people feel that satiety from the meal as well as the carbohydrate and fat breakdown. That’s something that people don’t think about, and I think that kind of goes back to the point I was making before. Why low carb you can maybe wait 6 hours to eat, but if you’re eating less fat, more carbohydrates, more protein, yeah it’s satiating but you probably do need to eat a little bit more often. But the overall calories, they do matter. They matter.
Christine Hronec: Yeah, absolutely. It does matter.
14. Carbohydrates and balancing hormones [56:45]
Diane Sanfilippo: So, this one from Hayley MC, she wants us to talk about hormone balance and carbs. She says, “I lost my period when I went paleo and definitely too low carb. I’m now trying to eat more to get it back.” Have you seen this happening?
Christine Hronec: I haven’t seen that as a result of going too low carb; I’ve seen it as a result of going too low in body fat and not getting enough nutrients, but I haven’t seen it as a carb specific thing.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I have not seen that as a carb specific thing, either. I think to the point we were making about both higher and lower carb working for people in different ways, I think that it’s not just the carbs that did it. It’s lowering those carbs in the context of what else she was doing. If she was cross fitting and lowered her carbs, then that’s a lot of stress on the body and not the right fuel. And then like you just said, Christine, maybe her body fat actually got lower than it should have been.
15. Final word on carbohydrates [57:53]
Diane Sanfilippo: So we’ve definitely had a lot of questions. I think the one last thing that I know people are curious about and that I’ve been curious about, too, is how do we have wrap our heads around the fact that we’re eating more carbohydrates but we’re losing body fat. We could be eating less carbohydrate and losing body fat. Can you talk a little bit about what our muscle mass and the exercise that we’re doing and the fact that we are not just, it’s not just a diet. We’re not just cutting the calories to lose body fat, because we do have to make sure that we’re maintaining muscle mass and doing exercise in the right way. So what’s the last take on not being scared about trying an approach that might include more carbs and a little bit less fat and still feeling good and being healthy?
Christine Hronec: I think one of the things that I actually saw you say once on your Instagram, and it was like, if nothing changes, nothing changes. I mean, people want to change their body compositions, they’re not happy with where they’re at in a certain state, so you need to be open minded to adapting and changing things. It’s just pretty straight forward, and I think that we just shouldn’t get stuck in a rut that there’s only one solution, because again, our bodies are very intelligent and there are many more ways to approach our nutrition and health than we may realize. And I think by realizing that we may not have all the answers is probably the best place to start.
Diane Sanfilippo: Good advice, that is good advice. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Hey, and my last note for one question that was from Sabrina, she was saying that she was having trouble getting her fat percentage in My Fitness Pal, for example, tracking macros, below 40%. She’s not even adding fat. This is something that I would have easily run into had somebody given me a percentage and not shown me out to contextualize that out over the course of the day and what types of foods to be choosing. It’s kind of exactly to this point; if you’re not changing things, you can’t expect that number to change without changing the choice of which kinds of foods that you’re eating. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to need to eat some leaner meats. Which, you guys, that gets back to the original core of what Loren Cordain’s paleo diet was all about, was lean meats. I mean, we’re talking about naturally lean meats, not necessarily always avoiding the fattier cuts. But just something to keep in mind, you guys. It’s all very possible to do, you just have to pay attention to what’s going on.
All of this stuff happens in context with a million other things; none of this happens in a bubble. Adding carbs never happens in a bubble; dropping carbs, none of that ever happens in a bubble. So you need to pay attention to what else is happening in your life if you want to address this and try and change something going forward.
Alright, Christine I think that was awesome. We answered so many people’s questions. I hope that we got to what most of you guys have been wondering about with this whole carbs conundrum. Everyone is confused and {laughs} feeling like they don’t know what to do. I think that’s a good take on everything we’ve been talking about with carbs. If you guys have more questions, I’m sure we’ll be able to see them in the comments on the blog post for the episode as well as on Instagram, Facebook, etc. So hopefully you guys will still post your questions if you have more, and if we come up with enough questions in addition, we’ll see about doing another episode. Or, maybe Christine will do one talking about some other topics. Maybe we’ll talk about fat, maybe we’ll talk about some of these other issues that people have lots of questions about.
Christine Hronec: Awesome. Yes, thank you, it was a pleasure to be here today.
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright you guys, that’s it for this week. You can find me, Diane, at You can find Liz as always at And you can fine Christine at Make sure you follow us on Instagram, all over the place you guys. If you didn’t know, we have an Instagram for the Balanced Bites podcast, it’s just Don’t forget to hop on over to our email lists for free goodies and updates you won’t find anywhere else on our websites or even on the podcast. And hey, while you’re on the internet, leave us a review in iTunes. We love to read your reviews. We’ll see you next week.

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