What if we don’t eat enough carbohydrate?
Not eating enough carbohydrate can lead to low blood sugar levels, known as ‘hypoglycaemia’ causing us to feel weak and drained.
It can also cause us to feel light headed and lose concentration, as our brains need a steady supply of energy to function properly.
Once our bodies have used up our stores of glucose in our muscles and liver, it begins to breakdown some stored fat as fuel, but quickly moves on to use the protein in our muscles and heart.
People with diabetes or those who take part in very active sport are especially at risk of hypoglycaemia, if a steady blood sugar level is not constantly kept in check.
How much should we eat?
We should aim to have enough complex ‘starchy’ carbs to make up over a third of the food we eat. Try to base most meals on starchy carbs, vegetables and fruit, choosing wholegrain varieties of carbs when possible.
They are a great source of fibre, slow release energy and contain more nutrients such as calcium, iron and b-vitamins.
Don’t carbs make you fat?
This is a common sweeping myth, which has helped to fuel the low-carb fad diet industry.
We get our fuel (energy) from the carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol we consume in our diet. If we consume more energy than we use up, it will be converted into fat and stored around our bodies no matter where it comes from.
Carbohydrates contain less than half the calories of fat, so it isn’t the carbs or any other single nutrient increasing our waistlines, its a combination of many factors.
Making sure we eat the right type of carbohydrates though is very important, such as
- Starchy carbs
- Wholegrain varieties
- Vegetables and whole fruit
Keeping our high sugar and fat foods and drinks, alcohol intake and portion sizes in check, will all help to make sure we don’t add any extra inches and reduce our overall risks of developing dietary related diseases.