Consider this a list of excuses for why you shouldn’t stop yourself from eating that warm piece of bread.
Can you believe just a few decades ago, fat-free foods were the rage? Today, thinking about carbs probably conjures up images of everything you’ve been programmed to avoid: pasta, bread, potatoes, pizza. But before you completely ditch them, keep in mind that you couldn’t survive without them. Here are five signs you’re not eating enough:
1. You keep losing your train of thought
The brain is a fairly picky eater and its meal choice is glucose – preferably from carbs (not ketones). Without glucose, your brain can get irritable and distracted, which may adversely impact cognitive ability. This is why so many people struggle with difficulty concentrating, thinking and brain fog, because brain cells are being depleted of their preferred source of fuel.
2. Your workouts are slipping
Those burpees that you used to do effortlessly may suddenly seem tough if you’ve cut carbs. When your muscles don’t have enough glucose, you can be quick to fatigue making your workout appear tough. To ensure you have enough energy to exercise, it’s important your pre and post-workout meals include healthy carbs. Just a handful will help power your workout and replenish the fuel for the following workout. It’s also important to combine this with protein to assist with muscle repair and recovery. Fruit smoothies, salad with legumes, chicken wraps, fish, and sweet potato are balanced choices.
3. You’re always moody.
‘Hangry’ (hungry and angry) is a real thing if you’re carb skimping. Carbs play a role in the production of serotonin – the brain’s feel-good chemical that’s responsible for lifting your spirits. Between the low blood sugar causing brain fog, exhaustion and a potential dip in happy hormones, you wouldn’t be great company. Eating good quality carbs, like fruits, vegetables, chickpeas and whole grains will help snap you out of it.
4.Your breath stinks
Losing weight can be good for your overall health, but certain diets come with some undesirable side effects. For example, low-carb or ketogenic diets can cause foul smelling breath that even toothpaste can’t mask. When you consistently aren’t getting enough carbs, your body burns stored body fat for fuel instead. It’s a process called ketosis. Sounds appealing, however ketones have a very distinct smell, which is far from pleasant and may suggest you could benefit from a slice of sourdough with your eggs.
5. Problems down there
Getting enough fibre is important, but getting a combination of fibre is imperative for good digestive health. Australians aren’t doing a great job of eating enough fibre, particularly found in whole grains, legumes and vegetables, which not only help beat belly bloat and bowel regularity, but can also have a positive impact on the gut microbiome. You can find these ‘fermentable’ fibres in carbohydrate-rich foods such as corn, barley, cooked lentils, white beans, rolled oats, ripe bananas and cooked (then cooled) potatoes or pasta.
6. Banish cravings
Of course, not all carbs are created equal. Those that come from biscuits, banana bread, pastries, white bread and some pastas may only cause more troublesome cravings. But quality carbs from whole foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes digest slowly so don’t result in the same dramatic blood sugar spike – meaning you stay fuller for longer, helping to prevent blood sugar crashes and reduce sugar cravings during the day.
Bottom line: Not all carbs are created equal – just stick to the wholesome types.
This post was originally posted in Body & Soul.
Image credit: Pinterest