How often have you heard about “low carb” or “no carb” diets? There’s a reason for them, and it all has to do with ingesting too many carbs.
Now, carbohydrates are not evil. Our body needs them to function properly during our day to day lives. Here is a fraction of the benefits we get from carbs:
• They provide 40-60% of our daily calorie requirement
• They boost your mood
• Promote weight loss and prevent gain
• Reduce bad cholesterol (when ingesting soluble-fiber carbs such as oatmeal)
Unfortunately, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap – through no fault of their own. Too many people ingested a high amount of carbs, in a short amount of time. When you take too much of anything, bad things are bound to happen. (Such as drinking too much water.) Below is a list of warning signs/ill effects to watch out for; if you exhibit any of the following, you may be on the path towards excessive carb intake.
1. Weight Gain
Yes, carbs play their role in promoting weight loss. Our body uses carbs for “fuel” during our workouts. However, when there’s an excessive amount of carbs in any meal, the body doesn’t know what to do with the carb surplus… and it’s turned into body fat. (Often because carbs are combined with healthy fats.) Therefore, eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables (which we’ll talk about in a bit) will help you lose weight. But not if you eat a lot of refined carbs – which we’ll talk about shortly.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Another health risk from consuming excessive carbs is the potential to develop Type 2 diabetes – among other health disorders. Type 2 diabetes forms when your body stops insulin production. Insulin helps your body convert glucose (blood sugar) into a “storage” system in your body. Ingesting too many carbs puts your blood sugar levels into overdrive, and your insulin-production comes to a grinding halt. Thus, making you vulnerable for Type 2 diabetes.
3. Unhealthy Fat
Triglycerides are an unhealthy fat within our bloodstream. Ingesting too many carbs raises the amount of triglycerides in your blood, which makes developing a heart disease even more of a reality. Not to mention the amount of swollen arteries, and blood clots in the blood and heart. Lipoprotein, or the so-called “good cholesterol” often found in eggs, takes a beating by the amount of triglycerides in your system. This could potentially give you any number of vascular disorders.
More often than not, foods high in carbs are also high in fat. Whether it’s unhealthy or healthy fat, when taken to staggering proportions, this fat causes your arteries’ walls to thicken up. When this happens, your blood flow doesn’t flow as easily. This increases your chances of heart attack or stroke. This “artery-thickening” monster is a condition called atherosclerosis.
5. Brain Fog
Consuming too many carbs dampens proper cognitive functioning. Any diabetic who has (unfortunately) experienced fallen blood sugar knows the frustrating pain of “brain fog.” Symptoms to watch out for include agitation, sudden nervousness and unexplainable confusion – all of which are not fun.
How To Limit Carb Intake
We’ve talked about the dangers of eating/drinking excessive carbs. You’re going to learn how to limit the amount of carbs you ingest on a daily basis – through some slight “tweaks” in your food consumption.
NO Sodas or Sugary Drinks
You probably know you should avoid sodas and sugary drinks (kool-aid, juice, etc.) Some people misguidedly believe “diet” sodas are healthier. The truth is: diet colas are just as bad.
Let’s get more specific, and compare the carbs of two major brand name colas with their diet counterparts.
• Coke: 39g (45mg of sodium)
• Diet Coke: 0g (40mg of sodium)
• Pepsi: 41g (30mg of sodium)
• Diet Pepsi: 0g (35mg of sodium)
As you see, the standard choices are loaded with carbs – and their diet versions do not. However, those diets have near or above the amount of sodium, which is salt. One can or two a week won’t hurt you. Unfortunately, many people tend to have several cans a day – which sends up blood pressure and increases chances of heart disease development.
Reduce These Foods
In addition to sodas and sugary drinks, there are certain foods you should avoid. These foods are high in carbs and starches:
• Cooked pasta
• White bread
• Chocolate bars
• Cooked rice
Eat More Of These Foods
The foods listed above can all be replaced with these satisfying, much tastier (and low carb) foods: Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries,
(Generally, any vegetable grown above ground is free to eat. Those grown below ground—such as potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.— are foods to avoid..)
Eat Everything In Moderation
This isn’t to suggest you eliminate potatoes, carrots or rice from your diet. In fact, a lot of people who ate no carbs did more harm than good to their health. It’s perfectly healthy to eat a hearty serving of high-carb foods, as our bodies use these carbs that burn fat. Problems start whenever you go overboard, and decide to cook mashed potatoes with each and every single meal you make. Moderation is key (this goes for everything in life).
When you’re eating low-carb, it’s highly recommended to “up” your protein intake. Protein is one of the essential requirements for our bodies to function at peak performance. Protein also does double-duty by transforming carbs into glucose, which our bodies store as healthy fats. Eat foods high in protein such as red meat, salmon and eggs.
Again, carbs have gotten a bad rap because people ate high-carb foods like there was no tomorrow. Carbohydrates—as they are—provide our body much needed health benefits. Going into a “no carb” or “low carb” diet is detrimental to your health, as you burn through your energy levels and your water. Our bodies need glycogen (produced by carbs) for energy.
Low/no carbs equals no glycogen, meaning you have no energy to do… anything. Aside from that, you also put yourself at risk for losing muscles and strength, putting stress on your liver, and impair your immune system. Remember: Take everything in moderation - including carbohydrates.
Written by olsonblog for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.