In today's world, carbs might seem like the enemy. However, this isn't further from the truth. While it's best to eat carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats for balance, if you're cutting out too many carbs from your diet, you might not be getting adequate energy to maintain stamina and mental activity. Your body needs healthy, complex carbohydrates to reap enough nutrients and fuel to power your organs and beat fatigue. There's a reason your body craves carbs when you approach that dreaded afternoon slump.
As a certified health coach, I work on educating clients on how to include healthy sources of carbohydrates, those are rich in fiber and other vitamins, into their daily diets. Often times clients are scared of carbs, and they try different diets that limit them in favor of protein or fats. Yet, not getting enough carbs can lead to lack of nutrients and unstable mood and energy stores, especially if you're incorporating physical activity into your normal routine. Having carbs, in moderate doses, can perk you up and keep the body's hormones balanced. Here are 9 signs you're cutting out too many carbs from your diet and shouldn't be so restrictive. Besides, carbs taste awfully good.
1. You Feel Super Tired All The Time
According to Ashlee Wright, MDA, RD, LD/N at Orlando Health, over email with Bustle, if you're low in energy and drive, you might need to amp up your carbohydrate intake. "Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy, and they are used up first and foremost in the body. Eliminating too many carbohydrates from your diet may leave you feeling lethargic and rundown," Wright explains.
2. You Have Poor Digestion
"When you are eliminating too many carbohydrates, your body could be missing out on important sources of fiber in the diet," says Wright. "These include as fresh fruit, legumes, and whole grains. Fiber is essential for proper digestion, not to mention blood sugar and cholesterol control," Wright adds. If you notice tummy troubles, consider adding in healthy, fibrous carb sources.
3. You're Hungry AF
"A properly balanced meal includes carbohydrate, protein, and healthy sources of fat. A balanced meal helps to feel full and satisfied and keeps hunger at bay in between meals," says Wright. "Are your no carbohydrate snacks less than fulfilling? Try a carbohydrate + protein snack such as an apple with natural peanut butter. You may find that the combination holds you over in between meals better than either by itself would," Wright recommends.
4. You Have Low Blood Sugar
"Are you feeling shaky, dizzy, or getting headaches more often? When you are not eating carbohydrates, you run the risk of blood sugar levels dropping throughout the day," explains Wright. "Having a consistent intake of healthy carbohydrates at each meal is essential for blood sugar stability," Wright adds.
5. You're Missing Out On Fiber & Magnesium
According to Ashley Koff, RD, over email with Bustle, "you should equally be worried about not getting in enough magnesium (70% of US diets don't meet the RDA) which is Mother Nature’s anti-stress, muscle relaxant mineral. Likewise, while veggies give you some fiber, you get different kinds from whole grains, beans, and seeds." Koff recommends, "for my carb-cautious patients, I recommend Nature's Path organic plain oatmeal or Qi'a cereal as their carb base, to which they add additional healthy fats, proteins and non-starchy vegetables."
6. You're Low In B Vitamins
Your body needs B vitamins to do daily activities and have stable energy and mood, advises Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, over email with Bustle. "Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, quinoa, amaranth and many others provide your body with B vitamins as well as many other nutrients that yield energy in the body," explains Shaw.
7. You Have Brain Fog
Over email with Bustle, nutrition expert Liana Werner-Gray advises that if you're noticing lack of mental focus and clarity, it could be due to not eating enough carbohydrates in the day. "Signs that you are cutting out too many carbs from your diet including brain fog, where you feel like you can't focus and feel so foggy almost like a 'drunk feeling' in your brain," Werner-Gray adds.
8. Your Workouts Are Harder
Werner-Gray also cautions against a harder workout, where you're unable to push the body to the point you could achieve, if you had had carbohydrates prior. "You may also notice that workouts are harder to get through because you don't have the stamina to get through what you normally would having had carbs in your system. Carbs are necessary for stamina in a workout," Werner-Gray explains. Knowing what to eat before a workout can yield greater results.
9. You Crave Bread Like Crazy
"You may also find yourself craving bread all the time, and thinking about it way too much. When we deprive ourselves of certain foods, we usually end up binge eating on it later. It's way better to incorporate what nature provided for us, whole carbs that provide us many health benefits so we don't end up craving and binge eating refined carbs, which are bad for us," explains Werner-Gray.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it could mean that you need to re-evaluate your diet and potentially add in more healthy sources of complex carbs. You'll not only get to enjoy these foods more, but you'll also have more stable energy and nutrients.
Images: Pixabay (10)