Hey Angels and Alphas,
You probably know that a lot of today’s weight loss and diet trends, keto in particular, have led to a massive skepticism about carbs… and cutting back on pretty much everything from butter to bread to bananas. That being said, is swapping your morning oats and afternoon apples for eggs and avocado really a good way to support your weight loss goals?
And yes, the number of carbs we need to thrive really depends on each individual’s needs and lifestyles… but there are still signs you need to watch out for – if you need more carbs, your body will let you know.
Let’s be clear – your body NEEDS carbs.
Carbs are not inherently good or bad unless you label them as such. Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel and energy source, and they provide us with the energy we require to do our daily activities and exercise. They are also the brain’s primary fuel source. Without carbs, we can’t function optimally.
When we consume carbs, our bodies break them down into sugar which is then converted into energy straight from the bloodstream – or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.
If you want to keep your body fueled properly, traditional dietary guidelines recommend that you get about 45-60 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates.
And if you’re not getting enough carbs, your body lets you know… here’s how:
#1 BRAIN FOG AND FATIGUE
The most obvious (and often first) indicator that you’re not getting enough carbs is that you will feel physically and mentally exhausted. In addition to feeling sluggish (and sleepy) throughout the day, many people will experience headaches and have trouble focusing until they don’t consume ample carbs.
#2 FEELING MOODY
Not only will you have trouble focusing, but you will also experience changes in your mood… especially irritability. When you fall short of your body’s needs for carbohydrates, your mood and blood sugar take a hit.
Not to mention, in addition to being the body’s preferred fuel source, carbohydrates also play a direct role in the production of serotonin, the hormone that helps you balance your mood which is often associated with a feeling of well-being and happiness.
Whenever you’re experiencing sharp changes in mood, always check-in if you’re low on carbohydrates.
#3 POOR WORKOUT PERFORMANCE
If not eating enough carbs leaves you feeling sluggish throughout the day – both physically and mentally – imagine what it can do to your workouts.
Insufficient carbs may not be that problematic if your workouts aren’t high-intensity. If your workouts are low-intensity, your body can better use fat and oxygen for power. But your performance in high-intensity workouts will be greatly diminished. This is because high-intensity exercise depends on glucose from the carbs in your bloodstream or the glucose stored in our liver or muscles.
#4 DIGESTIVE ISSUES
Perhaps the biggest downside of missing out on the carbs your body needs for fuel is that you will also miss out on the filling, satiating fiber that comes with them.
When you start cutting back on fruits, veggies, and whole grains, you are essentially eliminating a lot of fiber out of your diet. And without fiber, you will end up feeling constipated and have trouble digesting your food properly.
And considering the fact that the majority of Americans fall short on fiber, reducing your carb intake basically guarantees you have trouble.
That’s why you should focus on increasing your carb intake in a healthy way…
If you’ve experienced any of the problems mentioned above, you should focus on eating enough carbs and monitoring your digestion and how you feel throughout the day.
To do this, you can either start tracking your meals for a few days so you make sure 45-60 percent of your calories are coming from carbs. Or, in more practical terms, make sure about 25 percent of your plate consists of fruits, veggies, of whole grains.
So what really constitutes a “healthy” carb? Any whole-food source. Whole grains, oats, brown rice, beans, lentils, berries, apples, squash, potatoes, the options are endless!
If you are concerned about how increasing your carb intake will impact your waistline, just remember that the fiber that comes in these natural whole grains will help keep you fuller for longer and you will be more satiated between your meals, eliminating a lot of sugar cravings and supporting your efforts to lose weight over the long haul.
More success with weight loss, more energy, better focus… why would you NOT consume more healthy carbs?