6 Surprising Signs Your Carb Consumption Is Through the Roof
If you live for carbs and can’t get enough of them, you’re not alone. Carbs are everywhere, and unless you possess exceptional willpower you’ll fall prey to them at every meal.
We’re sure you don’t need to be told—eating too many carbs can pose many risks to your health, and restricting your carb consumption can significantly improve your mood and energy levels.
For instance—you may be getting a good night’s sleep regularly, but if you find yourself feeling sluggish by 3 p.m. every day, eating too many carbs at breakfast and lunch may be to blame.
According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, you should get 45 to 65 per cent of your total daily calories from carbohydrates. But that doesn’t mean you should gorge on potato chips, pizza and doughnuts. Ideally, you should get your carbohydrates from whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats and fruits.
Signs You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
Carbs, especially refined carbohydrates and starches, give your body a rush of energy, but it’s short-term. When your body releases insulin to control your blood-sugar levels, those carbohydrates—which have now converted to sugar, make their way to your muscles, liver and other organs to leave you feeling sluggish and tired.
Using a calorie counting app can help you track your intake of macronutrients, and help you figure out if your carb consumption is under control.
If you don’t track your food intake, and are unsure whether you’re overloading on carbs, there are some signs you can look for. These signs suggest you’re eating too much of the wrong kind of carbs:
1. You’re always hungry.
If you’re consuming too many carbs, you may not be eating enough protein and fat.
Carbs digest faster, leaving you hungry in a couple of hours after eating. But foods that are rich in fat and/or protein (fish, meats, beans, soy and nuts) take longer to digest. This keeps you feeling full and satiated for longer periods of time.
If you find yourself feeling hungry throughout the day, or if you feel the need to eat more food after a meal or snack, you may be eating too many carbs. Up your protein and fat intake while lowering the amount of carbs you consume.
A protein-packed breakfast is a great way to start. Replace your sugary cereal and pastries with protein-rich foods like eggs and peanut butter, and healthy carbs like whole-wheat breads and bagels. Swap unhealthy carbs with healthier low-carb alternatives for lunch and dinner to prevent hunger pangs and overeating.
2. You have mood swings.
It differs from person to person, but a high-carb diet can lead to highs and lows in your mood throughout the day. Unhealthy carbs can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar, leading to mood swings and crankiness.
Eat a moderate amount of carbs—particularly unrefined carbs rich in fibre—and a healthy amount of protein and fats to help keep your moods in check.
3. You sugar cravings are uncontrollable.
Do you wait impatiently to get home after work to dive into a piece of chocolate cake that’s sitting on your kitchen counter? Are you obsessed with sugary treats? Do you hoard sweets and munch on them throughout the day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably have a sugar addiction that’s the result of a high-carb diet.
Eating too many sweet treats triggers your brain to release more dopamine every time you eat sugar. This makes you think of sugar as a reward, causing all-day cravings.
This is very similar to the excitement the brain receives from addictive drugs and alcohol. This food-reward response is very common in obese children, but studies show it also happens to adults.
4. You have high cholesterol.
One clear way to know if your carb intake is out of control is to check your cholesterol. A high-carb diet is associated with lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. This translates to a higher risk for heart disease.
High-carb diets—which get more than 60 percent of total calories from carbs—in addition to high sugar consumption, are associated with an increase in triglycerides. Follow a low-carb diet to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
5. You have headaches.
An excessive carb intake throws off your body, and this can result in headaches and migraines. Carbohydrates cause spikes in blood sugar. If your blood sugar is high, you could also feel shaky, disoriented, have blurred vision and urinate a lot. To combat this, increase your protein intake and limit your carb consumption to whole grains and fruits.
6. You have skin problems.
You are what you eat, and this holds true for your skin too. If you break out often, it may be happening because you’re eating too many carbohydrates during the day. Refined carbs like sugar and white flour—foods with a high-glycemic index—are the main culprits.
According to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, there is a definite link between refined carbohydrates and acne. If you’re noticing more acne flareups, it may be time to make changes to your diet.
Controlling your carb intake
Are you ready to beat your carb cravings, and eat more protein and fat? Here are three ways to rise to the challenge:
1. Eat fresh.
For two to three weeks, cut out all grains, sugars and starchy foods from your diet. This includes rice, corn, oats, potatoes and even quinoa. This can help you reduce your dependence on carbs, and allow you to choose a carb intake level that’s suitable for you.
2. Eat more green leafy greens and healthy fats.
Despite what you’ve heard, healthy fats are good for you. They make you feel full while providing you with essential nutrients. Vegetables, especially leafy greens, are incredibly healthy and low in calories. They should make up the largest part of your meal.
Carbs will do your body less damage if you exercise regularly and burn excess calories. A sedentary life combined with a high-carb diet can only do you harm and add inches to your waistline.
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