In my opinion, “low carb” is what most of us women run to when we want to drop weight fast. We sort of grew up fearing carbs as it is… but it makes total sense to me since there are so many addicting carby, sugary, can’t-have-just-one choices out there these days (thanks to all the processed JUNK everywhere, but I’ll save that for another day). So just avoiding carbs altogether seems to be most rational, right? WELL. Not always. There are certainly some AMAZING benefits to going low carb (and to going on a ketogenic diet, like I am on right now!).. but there are also tons of benefits to having carbs in your diet, too. You just have to make the RIGHT decisions when it comes to carbs, and this all stems back to quality. We need to be eating NATURAL foods like rice, potatoes, and fruits instead of chips, candy, and bagels.
So when and why do you choose to eat low carb?
-reducing carbs often works great for weight loss
-low carb diets often improve mood and energy (great for people with mood disorders like anxiety and depression)
-this diet can greatly improve markers of metabolic syndrome (diabetes/insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, etc)
-helps lower cholesterol
-it normalizes hormonal imbalances so it is great for people with PCOS or endometriosis for example
-for anyone with IBS or constipation, this can be very beneficial as it helps heal the gut
-for anyone with SIBO or Candida overgrowth, low carb is amazing at reversing this
-going EXTREMELY low carb, aka ketogenic diets, is shown to help with cancer, neurological disorders and autoimmune disorders
HOWEVER – keep in mind that this type of diet is almost always a short-term approach and is essentially for “therapeutic” reasons
So why do you choose to eat more carbs??
-to begin, if we are low carb for too long, it can send signals of stress throughout our bodies, which can affect our thyroid and adrenals.. so adding back in carbs is something we must do eventually (glucose is NEEDED for thyroid hormones to function correctly and poor thyroid = havoc on the body)
-if you are a highly stressed out individual, low carb can cause even more stress for your body, so you will want to add in more carbs (because the body requires glucose when the adrenals need to work harder)
-insulin and leptin are important for hormone balance, and insulin comes from.. carbs! If we don’t eat enough carbs, our insulin will be too low, and it won’t allow leptin to work properly (leptin basically tells our brain we are not starving, so if we have low insulin, our leptin never tells this to the brain and we think we are starving.. so we store fat!!)
-sex hormones can get thrown off from not adding in enough carbs as well (low insulin = low leptin = no signal to brain that we are being fed = no production of sex hormones)
PLEASE keep in mind here that this doesn’t happen to everyone, but for many people, after a long period of low carb, it can cause issues like what I have mentioned above
When to consider upping your carbs if you are heavily restricting them:
If you have a very high activity level and exercise often
If you have lost your period or rarely get it
If you sleep very poorly
If your stress levels are extremely high
If your adrenals are not working properly
If you want to become pregnant or are pregnant
If you are burned out from a low carb diet
I have personally done both keto AND high carb, and my body responded well to both. But I wanted to go over carbs with you guys since I know a lot of this can seem confusing!