Chances are, you or someone you know has completely given up carbs at one point in their life and as a result, lost weight. Here's my question though--did they actually keep the weight off long-term?! Probably not. More importantly, how did cutting out carbs affect their health?!
There's no doubt in my mind that eliminating the "bad" carbs can improve your health, but our bodies NEED the right amount of "good" carbs to properly function.
Many diets claim that the key to weight loss is completely cutting out all carbohydrates. This is simply not true. While cutting out simple (also known as bad) carbs, including white pasta, white bread, white potatoes, and products containing refined sugar, can be beneficial to your health, our bodies need complex carbohydrates on a daily basis to function at their best!
The simple carbs I mentioned above tend to digest quickly and can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. When this happens, your body stores more glucose (the simplest form of carbs that is formed during digestion) as fat. Complex carbohydrates, which include whole wheat bread and pasta, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and beans, digest at a much lower rate than simple carbs. Therefore, your body can store the glucose from complex carbs as glucose. Why is it important to store glucose in your body? Glucose is your body's perfect and preferred form of energy, so it keeps you moving all day and all night long!
Aside from providing you with energy, check out the other side effects of cutting carbs out of your diet:
1. Your breath may become very stinky!
When your body lacks glucose, it starts to produce ketone molecules for energy. Keytone molecules are produced by fatty acids, instead of carbs. Current studies suggest that people with higher levels of ketones throughout their bloodstream have higher incidences of smelly breath. Don't ruin a first kiss or job interview from being the culprit of stinky breath!
2. You'll feel grumpy and irritable
As I mentioned above, your body NEEDS complex carbs to properly function! Not only does a lack of carbohydrates affect your physical health, but it also affects your mental health. By depriving yourself of an entire food group that your body needs to survive, you'll find that you'll be grumpier and more irritable. In addition, because carbs provide energy to our brains, you'll have a harder time focusing and being productive.
3. Pooping may become a difficult thing to do!
Nobody likes to talk about it, but the fact is that everybody poops. You see, complex carbs are rich in fiber. Fiber helps keep your bowels on a regular schedule. When you completely cut carbs out of your diet, it's almost impossible to eat the proper amount of fiber your body needs to keep you regular. Nobody likes to feel constipated!
4. You'll feel exhausted
As I mentioned earlier, carbs and glucose are your body's favorite form of energy. The energy that comes from keyones doesn't even compare to the amount of energy your body receives from glucose. If you give up carbs, you'll probably feel that afternoon slump every day, no matter how much coffee you drink. I will also be difficult for you to complete a work out, because your muscles will have no stored energy in them.
5. You'll experience mysterious side effects that resemble the flu
During the first few weeks without carbs, it's common for people to experience flu-like symptoms. This is called "induction flu," and I'm talking about all of the symptoms we love to hate: headache, nausea, brain fog, lethargy, and irritability. Do yourself a favor and avoid the induction flu by continuing to eat smart, complex carbs!
As you can see, completely depriving yourself of all carbs leads to emotional, physical, and mental health problems. Remember to stick to the complex carbs over the simple, refined carbs. That way, you'll set yourself up to be a fuel-burning lean machine, instead of a tired, cranky, low-performing athlete.