Today we are going to be talking about carbs, especially with all. There's a lot of popular diets out there today, just talking about going low carb or no carbs, keto, Atkins. So let's talk a little bit about carbs. And if you are fearing ...
We're told a lot by health gurus and different health people that we should be like carbs are evil. So even nutrition bloggers, there's books like Wheat Belly, Grain Brain is another one I looked up. So all these things about how gluten and carbs are the devil. So is it the truth?
Sure, some people do really well on a low carbohydrate diet. I'm not one of those people personally. I eat carbs all day, every day. And of course, I do have a pretty balanced diet. I have fats and proteins. But I don't follow a restricted carbohydrate diet at all. It just doesn't work for me. And I do work with a lot of clients that are kind of afraid of carbs. They're afraid that if they eat carbs, that they'll gain weight, they'll have blood sugar imbalances and maybe it'll be bad for their health. So today I'm going to break down the carb fear and share with you what the science says, and then also some of my personal views and thoughts on carbs.
First of all, let's talk about what are carbohydrates. Carbs are a macronutrient found in foods like greens, starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, corn and vegetables, dairy, beans, bread, pasta, sweets. Vegetables do have carbohydrates, but I don't really consider them a carb source just because you spend energy digesting them. So I don't really count those. But carbs can often come packaged with fiber and sometimes protein like beans and legumes. The carbohydrates break down the sugar in your body. So don't be afraid of the word, the S word, the sugar word. It's just simply the way the body digests and processes carbohydrates.
Carbs are actually good for us. So what do they offer our body? Why do we need them? If we weren't meant to have them, I feel like we wouldn't have them. God wouldn't have created them. So what do carbs offer the body? Fuel. Glucose is our main source of energy for the brain and our muscles. Our brains love a good source of glucose. If you've gotten really low carb, you've probably noticed it in your brain, like your ability to focus or your mood changes because your brain isn't well fueled.
What else does it offer? Fuel. Already said that. Fiber. We need fiber for a lot of good things, for gut flora. We also need ... It provides prebiotics to help probiotics in your gut and also fiber helps keep things moving. You definitely don't want to be constipated. So it helps with that. And then nutrients, right? So carbohydrates are actually a rich source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients. So we need them. But let's ask, okay, so are carbs evil?
No, they're not evil. Sure, some people, like I said, some people do well with carbs, but they're not going to just ... Carbs were not created to give you diabetes and they were not ... They're not here to make you fat. They can be part of a balanced, healthy diet. And like I said, some carbs have more nutrient value than others. Refined carbs have less fiber. Refined carbs I mean like sugary stuff like packaged, like Cheetos. They're refined. They have less fiber, less minerals. And if you eat a bunch of refined carbs, you could have blood sugar swings. You'd maybe not really feel great. So you want to experiment with what works best for your body.
When you're coming from a place of body wisdom and you're really tuned into your body, you're going to be able to choose what you think works best for you. So when you're coming from a place of not restriction or dieting, you can choose to have some Cheetos if you want. Or you might be like, "Hmm, I don't really want Cheetos." But if you're coming from a place of restriction, you're going to be like, "Oh my God, Cheetos. I need them in my life right now." So it's coming. You've got to kind of weigh and balance, and experiment with what feels good for your body.
Number two, gluten. Gluten is the devil, right? That's what you hear about. Well, no. Sure, for some people, gluten is not their friend. That's a very small percentage of the population. Research estimates that about 1% of the population actually has celiac disease. That's an auto immune reaction to gluten. About 6% of the population has a non celiac gluten sensitivity. I see clients with food sensitivities and it's not always gluten or dairy. So there's a lot to consider, but gluten isn't destroying everyone's health.
Many people also think that food is causing their digestive symptoms or maybe their ... why they don't feel good. But it's also important to consider that your stress levels, your anxiety levels could be also factors in with your symptoms, not just food. Don't just blame ... So basically stop blaming gluten for everything. Kind of take a look at what else could be going on.
How do we stop fearing carbs? Let's kind of recap. If you're fearing carbs, give them a chance again. Give yourself permission to enjoy the carbs you've been restricting. Allow yourself time to kind of get used to them again. Can you take a nonjudgmental approach while you're eating them? Take a look at the bigger picture and realize that having one cookie isn't going to ruin your life. And then notice how it feels in your body. Be sure not to obsess over or blame carbs if you feel tired or bloated. It's really normal to feel tired and bloated whether you're eating carbs or not. That's just a normal body experience.
But start to pay attention to how you do feel. Maybe you do cut out carbs for a little bit and see how you feel. But if you are one of those people that restricts all the time, I encourage you to add some things in and have fun. Find some new recipes with new carbs. It's not just all brown rice and wheat bread. You could do black rice or purple potatoes.
I think I feel very strongly about unfollowing health gurus on social media that are carb mongers. There's a big difference between some health practitioners that promote open conversation around this and other people that use fear based tactics like, you're going to die if you ... or you're going to get fat if you eat carbs. So finding a balance. Like I said, everyone's body is different. I eat carbs every day, all day, like I said, but it's a balance. Some people, that doesn't work as well for them.
One thing that really helps me was just like I feel like I do have this freedom around food now. I can eat a cookie and then move on with my day. If that isn't like that for you and you need help kind of navigating this and what's going to work best for your body when it comes to carb, work with someone like me, a coach or an intuitive eating coach or and kind of help yourself get out of that diet mindset.
Remember, stress and anxiety about it puts your body into a stress response. And that means anxiety about weight gain and anxiety about weight loss is going to cause your body to put that on.
A lot of this information that I spoke about today was from a blog on Lauren Fowler, How to Stop Fearing Carbs. So if you want more information, you can check out her. But also give me a shout, let me know. And if you have questions about this and carbs and what's going to work best for your body.
I hope this is helpful. And go eat a cookie. If you want, if that's what works for your body right now. It might not.