In the past few years there has been loads of controversy whether carbohydrates, or carbs as they are commonly known, are good or bad for you. You probably heard that:
- Carbs spike your blood sugar and insulin, which packs on the body fat.
- Carbs, especially sugar and grains, cause inflammation.
- Carbs are not an essential part of the diet like fat and protein.
Unfortunately statements about “good foods” and “bad foods” ignore biological complexity and the bigger picture of nutrition.
We all require some level of carbohydrates to function at our best over the long term.
We can cut carbs temporarily if we need to lose weight quickly or at the starting phase of weight loss. But for most of us, keeping carbs too low for too long can have disastrous consequences, especially if you work out. It could lead to:
- decreased thyroid output
- increased cortisol output
- decreased testosterone
- impaired mood and cognitive function
- muscle catabolism
- suppressed immune function
In other words: Your metabolism might slow, your stress hormones go up and your muscle-building hormones go down.
You feel lousy, spaced-out, sluggish, cranky… and maybe even sick!
Eating too low-carb for too long can cause significant disruptions to many hormones.
This seems especially true for women. Not eating enough calories or carbohydrates or even eating enough calories but not enough carbohydrates leads up to disrupted hormones. This can have effects such as no or irregular periods as the body responds to a perceived sense of starvation and stress.
In addition, not eating enough carbohydrates tends to increase cortisol levels. Research also shows that lowering carb intake can affect your muscle mass even if protein intake remains constant.
Unless you are preparing for a bodybuilding competition or other athletic events… Keep it simple!
Enjoy a wide variety of minimally processed, whole and fresh foods.
Observe how you look, feel, and perform.
YOU ARE UNIQUE!
Published by Miranda
Hi. I'm Miranda, a Clinical Nutritionist with a MS degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and a board certification from the American Nutrition Association. I've also completed a year-long clinical residency program Dr. Kara Fitzgerald’s Functional Medicine Clinic.
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2 thoughts on “Adrianna on the Carbohydrate Controversy”
great post and a very important one too. there is too much fear and wrong info on carbs out there.
Thanks Andre! I agree – it’s time to bust some myths 😀
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