Keeping your body happy and healthy can take a lot of work. Almost everyone struggles with knowing what, when, and how much to eat, and the conflicting dietary advice can drive you bananas. That said, being on the lookout for weird signs you're eating too many carbs may help you feel better overall.
First, it's helpful to know a little more information about the often-demonized carbohydrates. According to Live Science, carbohydrates are a basic food group made up of the fiber, starch, and sugar found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, and grains. As noted on Kids Health, there are two types of carbs: simple (such as white sugar) and complex (such as bread). Also known as starches, the complex carbohydrates category can further be broken down into refined and unrefined groups, as additionally explained by KidsHealth.
Next, understanding the difference between refined and unrefined carbs can make a huge difference in your nutritional know-how. According to SF GATE, refined carbs include foods such as white bread, most packaged cereals, and sugary snack foods. These are generally low in nutrients. On the other hand, unrefined carbohydrates, such as fruits, raw vegetables, and whole grains, are generally more healthy, as further explained by SF GATE. These are generally much more likely to be included in a healthy diet.
Although there may be room for all types of carbs in most diets, the refined versions can sometimes cause a bunch of strange side effects. Everything from headaches to dizzy spells may point to the consumption of more carbs than your body can process. Read on to recognize these signs, and don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor for advice about any serious health concerns.
1. You Have High Cholesterol
Did recent cholesterol numbers leave you kind of concerned? It may be the carbs. According to SF GATE, dietary carbs can raise your blood cholesterol levels. If you're worried, then a chat with your doctor about ways to get those cholesterol levels down may be helpful.
2. You're Tired AF
So many people slog through the day feeling totally drained. If this sounds like you, then here's some (somewhat terrible) news: too many carbs may cause fatigue. Refined carbs, for instance, may give you a quick pick-me-up and then a sudden crash.
3. You Have Mental Fogginess
Wait, what was I doing? Feeling mentally foggy, especially right after a meal, may indicate that you're eating more carbs than your body can process, according to Be Well. Lessening the refined carbs in your meals may lead to a clearer head.
4. You Suffer Mood Swings
Messing with your blood sugar levels may in turn mess with your mood. As noted in Reader's Digest, blood sugar fluctuations, which can be caused by refined carbs as well as sugar, can cause that familiar crash. Do you feel crappy soon after a carb-heavy meal?
5. You Have Relentless Hunger
It seems unfair that eating anything could make you feel more hungry, but this appears to be the case in some instances, at least where carbs are concerned. According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming high-glycemic carbs may cause you to overeat in the long run. And, as noted by Harvard Health Publications, carbohydrates with a high glycemic index include most breakfast cereals, doughnuts, crackers, and white bread (or, in other words, foods that tend to be very binge-able).
6. You Crave Sweets
Have you ever had a sugar craving so strong you just started eating the stuff by the spoonful? This happened to . . . a friend of mine. Sugar cravings can get brutal. According to Women To Women, if you can stop eating sugar and refined carbs for 3 to 5 days, it may help you body cool it with the "feed me sugar" demands. In addition, filling up on proteins and complex carbs can help you feel more satiated.
7. You Have Constant Headaches
Plagued by headaches? Some dietary tweaks may help. According to Quartz, a diet low in carbohydrates may help reduce the inflammation that can cause migraines. Talk to your doctor if this is an approach you'd like to try.
8. You Get Lightheaded
Periodically feeling dizzy and weak on your feet can really suck. As noted by Harvard Health Publications, however, a condition called postprandial hypotension can make you experience dizzy spells after eating refined carbs. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern.
9. You Deal With Abdominal Discomfort
Unfortunately, even complex carbs may have some less-than-desirable effects. As noted by the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, pain in the lower abdomen is sometimes caused by consuming complex carbs such as legumes and grains. Keeping track of which foods appear to cause this distress can help you find the problem.