Many of us hear the word carbs and we instantly think of all the foods we shouldn't eat, like white breads, cookies, and pasta. Given that a high-carb diet can increase your risk for various health troubles, like obesity and type 2 diabetes, we can understand if you decided to just avoid carbs completely. You know, just to be on the safe side. Problem is, that's not a very good idea.
Your body needs carbohydrates to function. According to registered dietitian and nutritionist Bridget Murphy, MS, RDN, CDN, from NYU Langone Medical Center, you should be getting 200 to 400 grams of carbs every day.
If you need a little convincing that carbs can be good for you, here are 9 (not so pleasant) things that can happen to your body when you don't eat enough of them:
1. You breath may get rank.
Low-carb diets are known to make your breath smell bad. This is due to the ketone molecules your body produces when you deprive it of its preferred energy source -- glucose. Studies have found that people with higher levels of ketones in their blood report more symptoms of bad breath.
2. Your mouth may feel like cotton.
Ketones may dry your mouth out and make you feel thirsty. Drinking enough water can help but it isn't always the easiest and most convenient solution.
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3. You'll likely feel exhausted.
Carbohydrates provide your body with the fuel it needs. If you decrease the amount of fuel available, your body has to work harder to get you through your day. This extra work and lack of fuel will make you feel tired. It is also worth noting that when you decrease your carb intake, you also decrease your blood sugar which can contribute to lower energy levels, says senior nutrition fellow at the American Council on Science and Health Ruth Kava, PhD, RD.
4. You may experience dizziness.
Reducing your carbs can lead to weight loss. But, according to Kava, a lot of that weight is just water. This may seem like a good thing if you are looking to drop a few pounds but when you lose water weight, you also lose potassium and magnesium which can leave you feeling woozy.
5. You may also feel nauseous.
Not getting enough carbs and urinating away key nutrients (in all that water weight you're losing) can make you feel sick to your stomach.
6. You'll probably get constipated.
Many carbohydrates, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are a great source of fiber. Fiber keeps you regular. Without it, you will likely experience a back up in your small intestine.
7. You put a serious stress on your kidneys.
Once again, ketones are the trouble. They are highly acidic, says Murphy. If you are putting more ketones into your bloodstream, your entire body will become more acidic. This can increase your risk of developing kidney stones and may even lead to bone loss!
8. You may end up binging more often.
"When we're feeling tired, stressed or just really hungry, the no. 1 thing our body craves is fast, easy, sugar," Murphy explains. You know that eating an entire bag of cookies is not the answer but the more you tell yourself you can't have something, the more likely you are to want it. And remember this, the lower your blood sugar drops, the less control you will have over these binge eating impulses.
9. Life can suck, generally.
Why put so much pressure and stress on your life? Why freak yourself out about one single group of foods? Unless you have been told by a medical professional that it is absolutely necessary for you to control your carb intake, cut yourself some slack. Don't forget that meals are something we should be enjoying. Taking this more relaxed approach will not only make you feel happier, it can go a long way with helping you follow some other, far more helpful, weight loss tips. Slowing down and enjoying your food, stress free, can help you listen to your body's fullness cues, preventing you from overeating.
If you're feeling a little lost about how to include carbohydrates in your diet in a healthy way, we can help! The BodyRock Meal Plan offers you 30 days worth of healthy, balanced, delicious, easy to prepare, meals and snacks. Each week we will give you a detailed grocery list so all you have to do is buy the ingredients and follow along. It really is that simple. Let us help you build the foundation you need for a lifetime of healthy eating! Get your meal plan here