It’s no secret that overeating on carbohydrates can cause unwanted weight gain and a key aspect of a ketogenic diet is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume to burn more fat and reduce many of the symptoms that come along with a high carb intake – namely insulin resistance which is what we’re trying to minimize on a keto-based lifestyle. As women age, it becomes even more important to recognize the signs of excess carbohydrates in your diet which can wreak havoc on our hormones and weight maintenance or weight loss efforts.
Christine Hronec, a chemist and three-time champion fitness competitor who works specifically with women to transform their bodies and focus on body-positive self images, shared six signs of excess carb intake that women should be aware of:
1. Hyperglycemia (Type 2 Diabetes) This condition is the result of excess glucose in one’s blood stream. This is one of the key signs of diabetes a condition where the body cannot effectively lower one’s blood sugar due to irregularities with ones insulin levels. This results in frequent urination as well as a persistent thirst. Eating excessive amounts of sugar is the primary cause of this condition, however there are cases where the body is not able to effectively manage glucose metabolism due to the inability to create insulin (type 1 diabetes) or a case of insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes).
2. Bloating Even if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, bloating is a part of life and sometimes seems to happen for non-obvious reasons. Consistent bloating is typically related to excess carb intake, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, IBS, or consumption of high FODMAP foods.
3. Acne Nutrition plays such an important role in skin health. Excessive carb intake in the form of refined sugars can increase acne breakouts. Refined carbs breakdown into sugars that feed bacteria. While bacteria alone will not cause acne, it can stress existing inflammation. Selecting lower glycemic index carbs will help minimize nutrition related breakouts in addition to dialing your sugar intake to only 10% of your recommended carb content and keeping that level dialed in.
4. Fatigue A common sign of excess carb intake will result in a shift in energy level. The problem is that refined carbs are processed very quickly leading to quick rises in energy levels, but results in a sharp drop in blood sugar that induces fatigue. When insulin is released from the pancreas it drops your blood sugar but it also causes an increase in your melatonin and serotonin levels in the brain resulting in a feeling of mild drowsiness after eating large portions of starchy carbohydrates.
5. Depression Depression results from a reduction in ones serotonin levels in the brain. Excess sugar intake declines optimal brain function and increases overall inflammation in the body. A lot of people seek emotional comfort from food where carbs are a common go-to when one is feeling down. The problem is that excess sugars, artificial sweeteners, and fast foods, which are very high in carbs have been linked to cause a wide variety of mental disorders from ADHD to bipolar disorders.
6. Sugar Cravings/Addiction Some studies show that sugar is up to 8 times as addictive as cocaine. It was found that sugar actually stimulates the brains opioid receptors. More often than not, unresolved emotional problems can be taken out on food. Instead of treating your issues with food, it is advised to talk about them with a trusted friend or counselor.
In addition to talking to a doctor about these symptoms to rule out anything serious, take the initiative to research low carb / ketogenic diets that help reverse the signs of “carb overload” and help you maintain a healthy weight, stabilize moods and prevent disease.