However, some actively avoid the food group, falsely believing that doing so will benefit their wellbeing.
On the contrary, having too low an intake of carbohydrates can lead to a number of side effects, as outlined by an expert.
Australian dietitian and nutritionist Susie Burrell recently shared the signs that you should look out for if consuming a lower level of carbohydrates than recommended on her website Shape Me.
While including too many carbohydrates in your diet can lead to weight gain, consuming too few can also have its drawbacks.
Here are the signs that you should look out for that your carbohydrate intake is not substantial enough:
You’re not losing weight
A common misconception about carbohydrates is that the less you eat, the more likely you are to lose weight.
However, carbohydrates are necessary in order to sustain your metabolism efficiently.
“If you are consuming less than 80g of total carbs each day but doing a lot of exercise, your carbs will be too low to actually metabolise body fat and your metabolic rate will slow down over time,” Burrell explained.
Burrell suggests adding a piece of fruit, bread or half a cup of whole grains to a meal eaten straight after exercise in order to increase your intake and support your metabolic system.
You feel fatigued
Feeling tired could be a key sign that you’re not including enough carbohydrates in your diet.
Burrell explained that this could be due to an alteration in your blood glucose levels.
“Fluctuating blood glucose levels can result in headaches, and inability to concentrate and a general feeling of lethargy,” she said.
While many may associate eating carbohydrates with feeling sluggish, avoiding them can also reportedly have the same effect.
When your body is craving something in particular, this could indicate that you have a deficiency.
This is why after eating a large meal you may still crave sweet treats if your plate of food didn’t contain a beneficial balance of nutrients.
“Regular cravings after a meal may be a sign that your meal does not contain a balance of carbs and proteins that you need for fullness and satisfaction which can result in extreme feelings of hunger,” Burrell said.
“Fluctuating blood glucose levels can also leave you feeling extremely hungry even when you have eaten only an hour or two previously as the body identifies that you have not taken adequate amounts of carbohydrate on board.”
Foods that are high in carbohydrates are rich sources of dietary fibre, which helps the contents of your gut move along smoothly.
Therefore, eating less carbohydrates than usual can cause you to become constipated, which is never a comfortable state of being.
“When your gut has been used to you consuming these foods regularly, and suddenly finds that it is no longer receiving significant amounts of wheat-based fibres it can significantly impact the total amount of bulk moving through the gut and cause significant reductions in transit time, or the time waste moves through the digestive tract,” Burrell said.
Many may not be aware that a low-carb diet can impact on the smell of your breath.
“When our carbohydrate intake drops below a certain level, the body will make ketones, which is an alternate fuel source for the liver and the brain made from fat stores,” Burrell explained.
“Ketones have a very distinct smell, some of which will be secreted through saliva if you are in ketosis.”
Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn energy.
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