How To Know If Your Food Is Making You Sluggish

by Isadora Baum, CHC

Despite what you might have heard, carbs are definitely not an enemy, as the body needs them to function properly and stay alive. Even healthy foods contain carbs, such as fruits, legumes, and vegetables. However, there's such as thing as too much of something great, and when you're eating too many carbs, you might actually feel more sluggish and less healthy than usual, as explained by Sylvie Trembley, MSc, over interview with Livestrong. Finding a proper balance in carb intake will help you maintain healthy and stable energy and mood levels.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on figuring out how get adequate nutrients in the day and feeling full longer, without overdoing it on portion sizes. When you overeat, you might feel more weighed down and tired, and often a high intake of carbohydrates can lead to these sort of feelings. Carbs can boost energy in healthy doses, but too much will definitely backfire. In order to be more mindful, eat slowly and wait 20 minutes between servings to see if you're appetite becomes suppressed. Also, pairing a carb with a protein and healthy fat will increase satiety and fill you up, and it'll provide extra nutrients to fuel your body. Here are 11 ways to know that you might be eating too many carbs in the day and should start to combine other sources to satisfy your belly without exceeding carb limits.

1. High Blood Sugar

If your doctor tells you your blood sugar is too high, or you are diagnosed with having diabetes, it could definitely come from eating too many carbs in the day and creating imbalanced glucose and insulin levels, explains Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT over email with Bustle. "A diet high in refined carbohydrates (aka processed baked goods and white breads) can put your blood sugars out of whack and make you crave more refined carbs (like those cookies, candy, etc.)," advises Shaw. "Focus on complex, quality carbs like whole grains to get the most nutritional benefit," Shaw recommends.

2. Fatigue

"This point has to do with both how many carbs you're eating as well as what kind," says Ashlea Braun, registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center over email with Bustle. "Your body burns through refined carbs (things like sugar, white bread, white pasta) really quickly, leading to short bursts of energy followed by a 'crash' and feelings of fatigue or sluggishness," says Braun.

3. Hunger

"If you're eating too many carbs, you might be cutting yourself short on fat and protein. Foods that contain fat and/or protein (nuts, seeds, beans, soy, fish) take longer to digest, so they can create feelings of fullness and satisfaction for longer periods of time," explains Braun. "If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied after eating, or if you feel the need to keep eating more after a meal or snack, you might be eating too many carbs and not enough fat and/or protein," says Braun.

4. Mood Fluctuations

"This may differ from person to person, but if you're eating too many carbs (and again, the wrong kind of carbs) you may experience highs and lows in your mood," says Braun. "Eating a moderate amount of carbs (especially non-refined carbs high in fiber), and a consistent number of carbs, with some protein and fat, can help make you feel better, longer, and more consistently," Braun recommends.

5. Low Veggie Intake

"It's also key to remember that your diet needs to contain plenty of non-starchy vegetables (at least 2-3 servings a day), which are very low in carbohydrates. These include things like carrots, green leafy vegetables, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc," says Braun. "If you're not eating vegetables, eating only fruit, or opting for mostly starchy vegetables (potatoes in particular) or corn, you're running the risk of eating too many carbohydrates," Braun says.

6. Headaches

Over email with Bustle, running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer explains that when you're body is thrown off due to excess carbohydrate intake, it could react in the form of headaches and migraines. Of course, head pain is never fun to deal with, and it can be really distracting when you're trying to be productive in the day. Eating more protein with carbs could help.

7. Bad Skin

According to Lemmer, having bad acne or breaking out can happen if you're eating too many carbohydrates in the day. This is especially true, Lemmer mentions, if you're eating mostly refined, white flour products and sweets, such as processed goods, white bread, chips, and desserts on the regular. If you notice flareups, consider your diet.

8. Poor Digestion

Eating too many carbohydrates can throw off your digestive tract, and it can interfere your body's ability to smooth out the belly and effectively break down the particles you eat, explains Lemmer. Having abdominal discomfort and poor digestion is often due to diet and refined carbs, and if you don't have a chronic disease, something as simple as excess carb intake could be to blame.

9. Decreased Cognitive Function

If you notice yourself having a hard time remembering to grab your keys or meeting a work deadline, it could be due to eating too many carbohydrates, advised Dr. Mercola on his health website. According to research, cognitive decline can result when your diet is high in carbs, as opposed to being properly balanced with adequate ratios of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

If any of these conditions appear, your diet and carb ratios might be to blame. Try eliminating processed foods and refined carbohydrates and limiting the number of healthy carbohydrates you eat in the day, such as fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains. If you start to see symptoms disappear, try and sustain this lifestyle longterm for better quality of life.

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