Many people have heard of the benefits of going “low carb” in order to improve hormonal balance, weight, blood sugars, and more. And while reducing the amount of carbs you eat can assist in achieving many health goals, the truth is, depriving your body of this vital source of energy may not actually be entirely healthy.
Here’s a simple way to think of nutrients: the body is designed to be fueled by carbs, built by proteins, and in many ways, lubricated and balanced by fats. It’s a complex interplay, but excess or inadequate intake of these major nutrients can lead to issues like hormonal shifts (think, mood swings, mental illness, infertility, for example), muscle wasting and malnutrition, obesity and diabetes.
It’s not a pretty picture.
We all have different bodies and needs, but the essential nutrients of fat, carbs, and proteins, are, well, essential.
When it comes to going “low carb” it can be easy to cause a cascade of unwanted changes in the body by overdoing it. That’s why when I work with clients, I emphasize reasonable portions versus outright elimination of foods. And rather than setting “macros,” we think about meal balance and satiety. Rather than demonize foods, we should think about, food traditions, pleasure, and how a food makes you feel.
Trusting the body and cultivating a positive relationship with food are key.
All that said, reducing carbs can be effective for many people, especially in a culture of excess and overindulgence. But rather than just go “low carb,” it may be more useful to focus SLOW CARBS.
- Eliminate refined and simple sugars and starches that cause spikes, roller coasters, tailspins.
- Go for SLOW CARBS: intact (and sometimes fermented) whole grains, beans and legumes (which can be sprouted to improve digestibility), and high fiber starchy vegetables (think, heritage vegetables, ranging from Korean yam, Dominican green banana, West African cassava, and far far beyond).
Have you ever gone “low carb”? And how did it make you feel? I’d love to hear your thoughts!