You have probably heard that carbohydrates make you fat?
In the past years it has become a trend to quit bread, potatoes, pasta, even fruit. Perhaps you have already been introduced to some of the following statements:
- “Carbohydrates makes your blood sugar - and insulin levels escalate, which makes the body store fat”
- “Carbohydrates cause inflammation in the body”
- "Carbohydrates are not good for you”
(For those of us that may recall certain diet trends from the 90’s, this fear of carbohydrates seems outrageous. At that time people were advised to eat fat free and large amounts of carbohydrates. Believe it or not, people also lost weight on the 90’s diet..)
The common idea of what is ”good” and ”bad” food has taken a gigantic u-turn, and our food choices as well as health ideologies, have become more “religious.”
As long as we are talking un-refined REAL food, there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” food (unless of course the food has gone bad).
The body is much more complex than that!
Back to the carbohydrates...
YES – carbohydrates will make your blood sugar and insulin levels rise.
But this does NOT mean that they will make you fat.
Insulin is a hormone that works as a regulator of saturation in the body. When your insulin levels rise, typically after a meal, you will feel completely satiated, and you will avoid “reaching for a chocolate bar” later.
(This is also the reason why some people on a low-carb diet get some crazy cravings).
And YES – carbohydrates CAN cause inflammation.
This goes primarily for the refined carbohydrates, such as white sugar, white bread, white pasta etc.
AND NO, real, natural carbohydrates – that have not been processed, preserved, or comes in a glossy package with a fancy catch line – do NOT cause inflammation.
Fresh fruits, boiled potatoes, cooked rice, buckwheat etc. will NOT cause inflammation in the body (however, if you decide to fry them, then that's a different story).
Carbohydrates are essential for the body to function. Just like fat and proteins (as well as a ton of micro nutrients), carbohydrates are crucial for the function of all processes in the body.
YOU NEED CARBOHYDRATES!
”But my colleague lost 5 kilos in a single month on a low-carb diet, and gained lots of energy!” is what many of you may be thinking now. “So why does Caroline let me have potatoes?”
Let's take a look:
Many people are able to drop the kilos quite fast on a low carb diet.
This is why low carb dieting is the new big thing in the magazines.
Inevitably, quick fix diets sell more than long-time results.
Will eliminating carbohydrates from ones diet be harmful to the body long term?
Working with clients, I see this all the time. I see the disruptive after effects of a low carb diet. And the more you exercise – the more you may risk damaging your body by not refuelling the carbohydrate stores.
You are risking to get:
- A slow metabolism (decrease of T3 and increase of rT3 – metabolic hormones)
- Increased cortisol levels
- Low levels of testosterone (goodbye sex drive!)
- Loss of muscle tissue
- Weak immune response
- Reduced memory
- Lowered metabolism, stress hormones flying high, and the hormones that help build up muscle mass, decrease.
You are fatigued, confused, irritable, and tend to gain the weight you just lost right back on, plus more. And you may feel like your body is a magnet to various infections and colds, where ever you go.
All this occurs in the body due to the fact that carbohydrates are essential to support the production of hormones. This is where the presence of the metabolic hormone T3 is significant. T3 – Triiodthyronin – is the most active metabolic hormone that the body can produce.
This is important to control blood sugar levels, and to make sure that the metabolism is optimal.
However, when the intake of calories and/or carbohydrates is too low, the levels of T3 will also be reduced, which may result in the symptoms mentioned above.
Are you eating enough carbohydrates, then the body will respond by reducing the formation of rT3 (ReverseT3). rT3 hampers the effects of T3 – so, if you are not consuming a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, your body will increase the level of rT3, and further block the way for T3.
CONSEQUENTLY – a lack of carbohydrates may destroy your metabolism and the ability to burn fat.
Long term carbohydrate restriction can affect the entire hormone balance – especially for women!
Lack of carbohydrates may – in the long run – affect hypothalamus in the brain. This particular part of the brain is where a majority of neurotransmitters are produced, which control the hormone-producing glands numerous places in the body – e.g. adrenals and gender glands (gonads).
As I have specialized in women’s hormones (fertility in particular), I often have women in my clinic who deal with these issues. They often find themselves caught in ‘hormone-hell’ with absent or irregular periods, absent ovulation, and a doctor’s reference to hormone treatment – due to low levels of oestrogen, progesterone, LH, FSH, or testosterone.
Long term low carb dieting may increase women’s risks of:
- absent periods
- reduced fertility
- blood sugar crashes
- reduced bone density
- restlessness, depression, anxiety
- chronic illnesses
THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE!
Listen to your body, instead of what women’s magazines may promote of trendy fad diets – keep in mind that their focus is to sell more magazines.
No bodies are the same. Some need more carbohydrates, some need less.
- Are you sitting down all day, then your may not need as many carbohydrates.
- If you exercise and do weight training, you will need more carbohydrates.
- Elite athletes will require a whole lot of carbohydrates from the diet.
From a healthy source, of course!
Get your carbohydrates from sources your body tolerates well (do not consume gluten, if your body does not respond well to it).
Do not forget the good fats, as well as easy-to-digest proteins.
This is why the Self Cure mini e-book and all my other books are all about eating natural foods that are nutrient-dense. Eat your carbohydrates strategically – that why you can actually boost your metabolism with cake!
It is also about balancing body and mind – to re-harmonise the entire body. Loads of pleasure and nutritious food.
May your day be filled with pleasure and nutrition – and new potatoes☺