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The Truth about Carbs

DISCLAIMER:

THIS INFORMATION IS PURELY FOR EDUCATION. I DO NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have seen or heard here.

What are carbs?

Carbohydrates provide fuel for the body and help keep it running. That’s why we need them to do things like walking or even more complicated tasks like moving heavy objects. Energy allows your body to do daily activities such as walking and talking and also complex ones too. These could be things like running a marathon. Adequate energy is especially important for children and pregnant women. Even at rest, the body needs calories just so that it can perform vital functions like maintaining your body temperature, keeping your heart beating steady, and even helping with the digestion of food.

Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our body and there are three types of carbohydrates found in food. They are sugars, starches, and fiber. Most carbohydrate-containing foods will have a combination of all three of those sources. Some examples can include fruits, vegetables, and grains. Fiber is different because it is a carbohydrate that does not provide energy to your body like the others. But it does play other important roles like aiding in digestion or supporting healthy blood sugar levels as well as keeping you full.

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Carbohydrates are found in the following types of foods:

  • grains
  • beans
  • fruit
  • vegetables (Starchy and non-starchy)
  • dairy
  • table sugar and other sweeteners

Foods to eat when avoiding CHO

  • meat
  • fatty fish
  • eggs
  • butter and cream
  • cheese
  • nuts and seeds
  • healthy oils
  • avocados
  • low carb veggies
  • condiments

Now, I know you’re probably wondering, what about the ketogenic diet AKA the keto diet? Well today, I’ll be talking about the keto diet and going into the pros and cons of it.

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Keto Diet

If you don’t know, the keto diet is a very low carb and high fat diet. The keto diet’s popularity rose as it was discovered to be a quick way to lose weight and prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because your body starts burning off fat for energy.

When you participate in the keto diet, you put your body in ketosis. Since you are no longer using carbohydrates to fuel your body, it needs another source of fuel.

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet. The only type of keto diet that has been researched enough to be recommended by nutrition experts and proven to be medically good for you is the standard keto diet. So be sure to do your research on the different types and make sure you stay on the keto diet that has been proven to be safe for you. At times, medical professionals will actually recommend the keto diet for the treatment of a medical disease or condition.

However, if you ask a nutrition professional...

they’ll likely tell you the keto diet is a bad idea. Carbohydrates are the only source of fuel that your brain uses. Thankfully, your body has a backup generator called ketosis. The decrease in carbohydrates and increase in fat puts what puts your body in ketosis. Ketosis provides energy for your brain when it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates. This is good because otherwise we would be brain-dead if you had no food or if you were on a low-carb diet. Being in a state of ketosis is not particularly a good thing. Some of the side effects of ketosis is loss of muscle mass and fatigue and that’s just two examples.

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Carbs are super important and because of that you don’t need to be in ketosis to in order to experience the symptoms as well these symptoms can include:

  • poor energy and fatigue
  • decreased mental function leading to difficulty concentrating
  • extreme hunger
  • nausea and cramping
  • sleep issues
  • nausea
  • digestive discomfort
  • loss of muscle mass
  • decreased exercise performance
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • and funky breath/ body odor

Conclusion

The keto diet is not a sustainable diet. However, using it short term is scientifically proven to be healthy. All this information is proof that all things are appropriate in moderation. Please always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice.

Citations

  1. Mohan, V., & Shilpa, J. (2018). Ketogenic diets: Boon or Bane? Indian Journal of Medical Research, 148(3), 251. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijmr.ijmr_1666_18
  2. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2021 Nov 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
  3. Rusek, M., Pluta, R., Ułamek-Kozioł, M., & Czuczwar, S. J. (2019). Ketogenic diet in alzheimer’s disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(16), 3892. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20163892
  4. Weber, D. D., Aminazdeh-Gohari, S., & Kofler, B. (2018). Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy. Aging, 10(2), 164–165. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.101382
  5. Ułamek-Kozioł, M., Czuczwar, S. J., Januszewski, S., & Pluta, R. (2019). Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy. Nutrients, 11(10), 2510. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102510
  6. Westman, E. C., Tondt, J., Maguire, E., & Yancy, W. S., Jr (2018). Implementing a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to manage type 2 diabetes mellitus. Expert review of endocrinology & metabolism, 13(5), 263–272. https://doi.org/10.1080/17446651.2018.1523713
  7. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2021 Nov 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
  8. Paoli A. (2014). Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(2), 2092–2107. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110202092

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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