Many people have learned to become scared of carbohydrates (carbs) and try to eliminate them from their diet at every moment – even fruit (we’re looking at you, keto diet). The fact of the matter is that carbs are the body’s main source of energy, which helps fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and the entire central nervous system. The point is your body NEEDS carbs!
There are three main types of carbs, which are starches, fiber, and sugar. Starches are typically referred to as complex carbs, while sugars are seen as simple carbs. The difference between complex and simple is that complex typically contains more nutrients than simple carbs, which is why people who are watching their weight are more apt to pick complex carbs, while simple carbs and sugars should be avoided.
A carb deficient diet can make you feel pretty awful, and if you’ve done a strict keto diet before (or any other low-carb diet), you probably know how awful it truly feels, they call it the keto flu. You may experience things like headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Reidhealth.org provides some of the best healthy carbs we can indulge in according to serving size:
• Whole grains: quinoa, amaranth, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, and whole-grain breakfast cereals
• Fruits: berries, citrus fruits, melons, apples, pears, bananas, and kiwifruit
• Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, yams, corn. peas and carrots
• Legumes: lentils, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, chickpeas, and soybeans
While carbohydrates are a very individualized component of the diet. Official health guidelines for Americans suggest that most adults get 45 to 65 percent of their calories from carbs. This may vary depending on health issues such as diabetes or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Otherwise, ensuring that you’re providing your body with the necessary nutrients from carbs will benefit your health and make you feel good.
Annette Frain, RD, program director with the Weight Management Center at Wake Forest Baptist Health, “Fruits and vegetables are good for us; they’re high in antioxidants and full of vitamins and minerals,” she says. “If you eliminate those, you aren’t getting those nutrients over time.” (Health.com)
It may also be hard to get enough fiber while you’re cutting back so severely on carbohydrates, since whole grains are one of the biggest sources of this important nutrient. That can lead to digestion problems (ranging from constipation to diarrhea), bloating and weight gain, and even elevated cholesterol and blood pressure (Health.com)
What’s more a diet which doesn’t have enough carbs can lead to increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates stress response, the more stressed your body feels, the more likely it is to store nutrients as fat. Compromised cortisol levels also have a significant impact on your immune system, which can leave us susceptible to sicknesses (thedietauthority.com).
The optimal intake amount of complex carbs is variable based on genetic predisposition. Using scientific literature and clinical experience, we are able to identify the relevant impactful genes for optimal complex carbohydrate intake. In fact, if you look at an individuals specific genetic though DNA testing, a low carbohydrate diet would especially not be indicated.
In studies, when an individual with a specific gene marker eat MORE than 144g of carbohydrates a day the waist size was smaller This is especially relevant in relation to ideal body composition, as some people do better with a lower carbohydrate intake (less that 144g per day), while others tend to burn fat with increased intake of carbohydrates (150g to 250g). In addition, some individuals show a propensity towards improved weight loss and cholesterol management with higher levels of fiber in their nutrition plan.
The Bottom Line
Carbs aren’t bad for you, period. They are an essential part of your diet, just like fat and protein are. Especially since they are the main energy source for your body, taking that away will only give you some gnarly side effects that you won’t even have the energy to deal with! You can find any of these foods at your local supermarket and even better farm stand, so embrace the carbs!
If you’re looking for other ways to boost your health in natural ways, feel better, and live longer be sure to book a FREE Health Strategy call and jump start your journey to a natural health improvement!
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