I’ve pretty much tried every diet out there as I’m sure you can relate. When I first found Paleo and then went on to participate in two research studies at the University of Connecticut as part of my Dietetics program, I became hyper aware of one macronutrient group specifically: carbohydrates.
And I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sad that carbs are so demonized, especially when it comes to women’s health. I’m also sad that I restricted them for so long because I thought it was the only way I would be healthy/lose weight/maintain a healthy weight. In reality, carbohydrates are the main energy source that our bodies use to get energy to our cells. We store carbohydrates in the body that we can access for energy when needed (pending we don’t have health issues preventing this), but when it comes to our brains they need a continuous supply of carbohydrates in order to function properly.
Our brains do not store carbohydrates and use up about 120g of carbs daily. This fact alone was enough to wake me up and realize that maybe limiting carbs wasn’t the best option for my longterm health. Not to mention on important carbs are for thyroid function and hormone balance.
But what if you feel like you gain weight just looking at carbs? Then that’s a sign something deeper is going on.
This past week I dug into carbohydrates and how I often hear many objections from women when I discuss the importance of eating more carbs and removing fears around carbs in these two posts:
Supporting the Utilization of Energy in the Body
What it comes down to when we don’t utilize important nutrients like carbohydrates well is that there is an area of the bodythat likely needs support. While we could dive really deep into each of the 6 areas outlined in the images above, I think what would be most helpful is to talk about supporting the liver, nutrients to consider, stress, and gut function. These will influence the rest.
Supporting the Liver
The liver is important for proper digestion, conversion of thyroid hormone, processing hormones like estrogen and so much more. It also stored carbohydrates to release when our blood sugar drop too low. It’s very important so we are starting here. Below are the most basic but helpful ways to support the liver:
Make sure you are doing all of the above since the liver directly impacts how we breakdown food, then:
When we have high levels of cortisol, we increase the demand for sugar from the body. If we are not giving it to the body, we will make it from fatty acids. This then makes using sugar as energy, more difficult. Having even a small amount of carbs in meals and snacks from whole foods can help improve this.
Nutrients To Emphasize
Certain nutrients are actually required to help us breakdown and process carbohydrates, support proper liver function, and create thyroid hormone. Including foods that contain these on a regular basis can be helpful.
If you are like I was and fear carbohydrates and feel like your body doesn’t respond to them well, then that’s an important piece of information that your body is giving you. We are constantly getting signals from our bodies via body temperature, pulse, mood, energy level, hunger, fullness, digestion, etc. You can easily start googling all of your symptoms and trying to make sense of them, but I recommend avoiding that. Instead, make note. Start collecting data on yourself and learn from your body.
Build a unique connection to yourself mentally and physically in order to help you feel your best. No one knows your body like you do.
Check out my podcast on building a nourishing nutrition foundation to learn how to support your body for the healthiest you!
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