Posted on Feb 02, 2021, 2 p.m.
Carbs/carbohydrates really get a bad rap due to marketing and popular diets warning against eating them trying to convince consumers that they are the enemy, but carbs are really not the completely bad thing that they are being made out to be.
Complex carbohydrates provide the energy our bodies need and help to keep us from overeating. They can also be great sources of fiber which promotes weight loss, satiety, and gut health. The key is moderation, as it is possible to get too much of a good thing. For example, fiber is great for the body, but too much fiber or adding too much to the diet too quickly can lead to stomach troubles.
According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines adults should get about 45-65% of their daily energy intake from carbs, but this number can differ depending on lifestyle with more active people needing more for energy while sedentary people need less. It is better to focus more on the quality of the carbs rather than how much, keeping in mind that whether they be complex or not an excess of carbs can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
When one follows a healthy and balanced diet this should make you feel energized as we have provided the body with the fuel that it needs to keep us going for the day. While complex carbs can contribute to providing energy, overindulging can backfire.
When in excess the sugar from carbs can decrease the diversity of healthy gut flora, making the digestive system more sluggish which can lead to bloating. To add to this, according to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, bacteria in the colon ferments fiber, starches, and some sugars which also produce gaseous compounds. Refined carbs can create an osmotic effect because of their high levels of sodium and pull water out of the intestines to contribute to bloating, constipation and gassiness.
Consuming too much of anything can contribute to weight gain, and excess carbohydrates translate to excess calories, plus foods that are rich in carbs can contain a lot of fat. Sweets and pastries get a good portion of calories from fats which are low in nutrients making them empty calories. But sometimes it can be how you are eating healthy carbs like pairing potatoes with gravy. To get the most from carbs try to pair them with healthier alternatives such as replacing the gravy and butter with salsa or grated cheese to avoid the added fat.
Acne breakouts do not stop in our teens, breakouts can happen at any time, this is partially due to genetics and specific hormones, but it can also be a sign that our diet needs some work. Carbs contain sugars that increase the production of androgens which are linked to hormonal acne, thus when in excess carbs can cause us to experience an acne breakout, especially along the lower third of the face. Studies suggest that if you are experiencing a new acne pattern try replacing high glycemic index foods with options that are lower on the glycemic index such as nonstarchy fruits and veggies.
If you are having a hard time sleeping and you are also a night time muncher, this habit may be contributing to your sleep troubles. Digesting carbs requires that the body works and processes the sugars, so snacking on carbs before bed is asking the body to perform tasks rather than rest. For some, carbs, especially those with a high glycemic index, could do the opposite and make you tired, according to a study published in Sports Medicine. But for those struggling to snooze it might be best to stop eating well before bedtime to give the body the time that it needs to process food so that it can go into rest mode so that you can get the sleep you need.
Carb overdose can also contribute to a lethargic state, making you feel tired all of the time. Too many carbs can cause a blood sugar spike which eventually crashes leaving you feeling sluggish, according to Sanford Health. The brain relies on glucose for energy, but it will burn through it fast if you eat a lot of simple or refined carbs rather than those with more fiber and other nutrients. Try to pair carbs with other nutrients like healthy proteins and fats that can help to slow digestion of the carbs to help you feel energized all day long, without the sugar rush.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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