Low-carb diets are all the rage, and with good reason. Ditching the carbs helps many people lose weight and become healthier by cutting out a lot of processed junk, lowering the caloric intake and eliminating refined sugars and flours that can spike blood sugar — but how low is too low?
Like fat and protein, some carbs are necessary for the healthy function of your body’s vital systems. In fact, cutting carbs too low for too long can make you feel awful and impede your weight-loss efforts.
If you’ve been on a low-carb diet for a while, take a look at these signs that you need more carbs to function properly.
Carbs are good for modulating blood sugar, especially if they’re all unprocessed, low-glycemic carbs. If you don’t eat enough carbs, or even just cut calories too low overall, it can cause significant blood sugar lows that result in horrible headaches. A headache on occasion isn’t a cause for alarm, but frequent headaches on a low-carb diet can indicate that you’re not eating enough carbs to keep your blood sugar steady.
If you’re always cold when on a low-carb diet, it could indicate that your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally. Your thyroid controls many functions in your body, including regulating your body temperature, and requires carbs to do its job. Once you increase your intake of healthy carbs, you should feel warmer.
A low-carb diet deprives your body of its preferred energy source, causing it to turn to body fat stores for energy. While this is usually quite effective for losing weight, it also puts your body in ketosis, which has the unpleasant side effect of bad breath.
When you remove all the pasta, bread and other grains from your diet, you also remove the fiber. As a result, you may experience bloating, gas or constipation. In this case, an increase in low-carb vegetables that are high in fiber, such as broccoli and kale, will replace the fiber you lost without adding a lot to your daily carb count.
Carbs are the preferred source of energy for the body, so when you’ve been low-carbing for a while, you eventually deplete the muscle storage of carbohydrates, or glycogen. This can lead to sluggishness during your workouts, decreased stamina or decreased strength, which may cause you to avoid workouts altogether. In this case, small carb loads both before and after your workouts should give you the energy you need to perform at your best.
Learn More at Paleo Angel
While low-carb diets are a great way to cut out unhealthy foods and get rid of some excess weight, it’s important to give your body the nutrients it needs to perform at its best. The paleo diet is naturally lower in carbs, and it includes many high-fiber, nutrient-dense foods that provide you with energy without packing on the pounds. Visit Paleo Angel to learn more about the paleo diet and take a look at our collection of portable, delicious paleo power balls today!