I’m a dietitian – here’s 4 physical signs you need to eat MORE carbs


A DIETICIAN has revealed four signs that your body is screaming for more carbs.

And what could be better than being told to eat more pasta, potatoes and bread?

Brain fog?  It's time to eat more pasta

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Brain fog? It’s time to eat more pastaCredit: Getty

Many trendy weight loss diets encourage cutting out carbs, claiming it’s the secret to dropping pounds.

Both the keto and Atkins diet say to instead focus on eating protein and fats.

As the body has less carbs to use for energy, it burns body fat instead.

But a dietician would say this is the wrong way to approach healthy eating, and potentially dangerous.

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The body turns to stored fat when there is a lack of carbohydrate, but it also eats away at protein tissue such as in the heart or muscle, The British Association of UK Dieticians says.

Each food group – carbs, proteins and fats – is important for physical health.

Carbs provide fiber to keep bowels moving and prevent disease. They fuel the brain and body.

Without carbs, you may get a headache, constipation, bad breath or nausea.

Starchy foods, the main source of carbs, should make up a third of your daily diet, the NHS says.

The BDA says: “We get energy from carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol in our diet.

“Any extra (unneeded) energy we take in will be converted to fat no matter what the source.

“Sometimes people think starchy foods are fattening however, the same amount (in weight) of carbohydrate contains less than half the calories of fat.

“Studies have also shown carbohydrates are better at satisfying our hunger.”

Nichola Ludlam-Raine, a registered dietitian, told Insider there is “no good reason to remove carbs from your diet”.

She said: “Low-carb diets have been popular for a number of years, even decades now, but reducing your carbohydrate intake can come with a cost.”

Here are four signs you need to up your carb intake:

Lack of energy

Carbs are the body’s main source of fuel, so if you reduce your carb intake significantly, you’ll likely notice a depletion of your energy levels, too, Ludlam-Raine said.

“Our body can use other sources of fuel (such as fat), although carbohydrates are able to provide a more rapid source of energy to enable us to function optimally, both cognitively and physically,” she said.

brain fog

The primary source of energy in the brain is glucose, which comes from eating delicious carbs.

It can rely on other stores, such as ketones. On the keto diet, the body turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply the brain.

But this isn’t a sustainable source of brain power, said Ludlam-Raine.

Symptoms of brain fog can include moodiness, irritability and difficulty concentrating.

Ludlam-Raine said: “Consuming carbs alongside protein helps to support the production of tryptophan, which is then converted into serotonin, also known as the happy hormone.”

Less energy to exercise

Ludlam-Raine said the body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Glycogen is the main source of energy when you do exercise, and when it’s depleted, you feel fatigued.

It’s no wonder that on a low carb diet, you can feel too tired to go to the gym – which isn’t beneficial for overall health.

Mikle Molloy, a sports-nutrition coach, said in a worst case scenario of “exercise flu” you’ll feel out of it, with a headache and muscle aches, and just want to lie on the ground.

Inability to recover from exercise

Carbs aren’t just needed pre-workout, but post-workout too.

Once the glycogen stores hit rock bottom, they need replenishing, Ludlam-Raine said.

“It’s recommended to consume carbohydrates alongside protein to support recovery and enable you to feel at your best before your next workout,” she said.

Feeling achy, sluggish or low in energy when you go to the gym may signal poor recovery.

What carbs shall I eat?

Some carbs are healthier options than others.

Potato is best when baked, mashed or boiled as opposed to fried.

We all know brown bread is better for us than white – but do you know why?

Wholegrain, wholemeal and brown breads are more fibrous and contain B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and a wide range of minerals.

The same goes for pasta – try and eat wholewheat or whole grain options.

Grains, such as couscous, oatmeal, brown rice and barley, are also important sources of starchy carbohydrates.

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Fruit and vegetables also contain carbohydrates

Ludlam-Raine recommended getting your carbs mostly from whole grains (such as brown bread and pasta), fruits, and vegetables.

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