The Ketogenic Diet (Keto) has received quite a lot of notoriety in recent years for its association with weight loss and potential decrease in risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. In a nutshell: eating a Keto diet means severely restricting carbohydrates and replacing them with fat, which allows your body to use fat for fuel instead of carbs (a metabolic state called Ketosis). The standard Keto diet allows for only 10% of one’s calories to come from carbs (from any source – fruits and veggies have carbs too).
Now, the Keto or other Low-Carb diets may certainly be beneficial for some people, but for others it can negatively impact their overall health goals and quality of life. Because bodies inherently use carbs for energy, eating for Ketosis may put stress on your body and alter the hormones it is producing. This can be especially damaging to women in their reproductive years (before pre-menopause) as their regulation of necessary hormones is extremely sensitive to any adrenal stress. This additional stress caused by a restriction of carbs can cause hormone imbalance, irregular or loss of menstrual cycle, blood sugar imbalance, insulin malfunction, and thyroid malfunction which in turn can lead to emotional dysregulation, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, and even weight gain – the thing that many are trying to prevent when starting a low-carb diet!!
For many of us, a regular intake of carbs is essential for overall health, but not all carbs are created equal. Let’s dive into how to optimally incorporate *our friend* carbohydrates:
Type and Quality Matter
- Carbs from whole foods (vegetables, starchy veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains) will always be most beneficial for your body!
Fiber Is Key
- Fiber helps us to feel satiated (therefore eat less), helps to lower bad cholesterol, and stabilizes blood sugar. Fiber is found in the whole foods listed above.
Combine Your Carbs
- Try pairing your carb intake with protein and fat to encourage absorption and blood sugar balance. Instead of eating fruit on its own, pair it with some nuts. If you make some sweet potato wedges, make sure to include a bit of protein!
Control Your Carbs
- Yes, high quality carbs can help your body function at its best, but keep portion control in mind as well (overeating will throw off your balancing efforts)
Written by GUADS Staff member Kate with contributions from jilliangreaves.com, healthline.com, precisionnutrition.com,