Is a low-carb diet any good for you?


According to an Australian dietitian, there are five key signs your carbohydrate intake is too low.

There’s a scientific reason why many of us crave foods that are high in carbohydrates. However, many people will completely cut out carbs from their diet, falsely believing that doing so will benefit their health. In fact, while consuming too many carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, consuming too few can lead to a number of side effects, as explained by Australian dietitian and nutritionist Susie Burrell.

These are the five signs that you should look out for if you are consuming a lower level of carbohydrates than recommended. You can find out more on her website, Shape Me.

1. 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.

Susie Burrell explained: “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.”

Its suggested that adding a piece of fruit, bread or half a cup of whole grains to a meal, eaten straight after exercise will support your metabolic system.

2. Feeling fatigued

While many believe consuming too many carbohydrates will leave you feeling sluggish, avoiding them can reportedly also have the same effect. 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, an inability to concentrate and a general feeling of lethargy.

3. Cravings

When your body is craving something in particular, this could indicate that you have a deficiency. This is why you may still crave sweet treats after a large meal, as your plate of food may not have contained 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,” explains Burrell.

4. Digestive issues

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.

“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.

5. Bad breath

Having a low-carb diet can actually impact the smell of your breath.

Burrell explains that 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. 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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