Carbohydrates are one of three main macronutrients your body needs to function.
Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Which is the main source of energy for your body’s cells, tissues, and organs. Glucose can be used immediately or stored in the liver and muscles for later use.
There are three main types of carbs: sugars, starches and fiber.
Carbohydrates are often blamed for weight gain, diabetes and insulin resistance. And this is true of a diet high in simple carbohydrates.
Carbs are divided into two groups: simple or complex.
🟡Simple: used immediately for energy, normally contain more sugar and are often refined and processed. These often give you a blood sugar spike.
🟡Complex: sustained form of energy which stabilizes your blood sugar. Stable blood sugar equals balanced hormones.
Complex carbs can be found in whole grains, (whole grains means it still has the endosperm and husk and thus essentially all the nutrients and fiber intact), legumes, vegetables, and fruit, dairy products.
⚠️Carbohydrates are essential for producing and balancing hormones. Reducing total carbs long term can result in an increase in cortisol which can lead to adrenal fatigue and a dysregulation of the HPA axis.
When we don’t give our body enough fuel to use for energy, we put stress on the adrenal glands which in turn can lead to a thyroid issue.
✅️Include complex carbs such as sweet potato,green beans, whole grains like buckwheat, gf oats, brown rice, quinoa.
✅️Limit simple carbs such as sugars, cakes, pastries, cookies for occasional treats.
And lastly, genetics. Some of us are more genetically built to favor carbs and do well on a diet that includes complex carbs. (Which can include a low carb diet, not a no-carb diet)
For example those with the A allele of the PLIN gene show protection against obesity when there is a higher intake of complex carbohydrates.
Others are more suited to a low fat diet or Mediterranean way of eating.
What’s key to remember is that the human body needs carbohydrates, but carbohydrate requirements differ from one person to another,based on many factors such as age, activity level, phase of life, genetics.
Remember: your diet is one of the key foundation to hormone health.
How to tell if your carbohydrate intake is too low:
- You are tired and sluggish
- You struggle to concentrate
- You don’t feel satisfied after a meal
- You have constant cravings
- Your menstrual cycle is haywire
Low carbs can also mean a decrease in fiber. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut microbiome and to avoid constipation which in turn means less nasty estrogens recirculating in your body.
For more information on what type of diet is best suited to your genetics, why not take the DNA Diet genetic test? This test looks at certain genetic variations and let’s you know what type of diet is best suited to your personal needs.