Now I bet you are thinking “cutting out carbs??? Completely?? How can that be healthy?”, and you are right completely cutting out a macronutrient sounds like a lot, especially because not all carbs are the same or have the same effect in our body and in our blood sugar, that is the key to it all, blood sugar control.
But first, what is a carbohydrate? Carbohydrates are naturally occurring sugars, starches, and fiber in food. All carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules. Sugar molecules linked together form starches and fiber. In the body, starches and sugars are broken down in the digestive system into glucose. Glucose is one type of fuel that provides energy and powers all of the body’s functions. Unfortunately, there is a price to pay to use it. Glucose is also called blood sugar, while dietary fiber is a form of carbohydrate that is not broken down during digestion. It passes through the stomach, small intestine, colon, and then out of the body.
When we eat carbohydrates, starches, or naturally occurring sugars, our blood sugar spikes, insulin is released from the beta cells of the pancreas until the blood sugar levels are lowered.
Besides the physical effect of storing fat (thanks to all those extra carbs and unused energy) we also know that there is a negative metabolic effect in the body when we eat carbs. Our blood sugars spike and insulin is released and our body may start to create a resistance to insulin. Our bodies will create a tolerance to any substance we are continuously presenting it with, and insulin resistance can open the door to complications such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
Keeping glucose in control is extremely important for good overall health. Sugar highs and lows, don’t have to plague you any more. I have an easy 10 step process to guide you to better metabolic health.
1. Eliminate added sugars. This is usually in processed foods, read the labels before you consume a product and make sure the overall sugar content is very low, especially the added sugars.
2. Replace sweeteners. You can bake, cook, make a milkshake, and have a sweet coffee without adding the evil white powder. Replace sugar in your kitchen for better options that are more natural and have a less glycemic index (the sugar spike we were talking about) some good options are stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol.
3. Stop using ultra-processed starchy white flours. Instead of your regular and super processed
corn, wheat, and other cereals start using almond, coconut, peanut flour, etc. remember: ” Regular consumption of white flour can lead to the conditions like fatty liver, raises bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, resulting in several health issues such as high blood pressure, weight gain, mood swings and progression toward obesity”
4. Read the nutritional labels on food. You have absolutely no idea how much your health can change for the best if you make the conscious decision to know what you put in your body. Start by buying foods with very low total carbs in them, keep in mind fiber is ok, so what is not a fiber in the carb count ends up as starches or sugars.
5. Use a nutritional app. When I first started to cut out carbs from my diet I found it to be very useful to check the carb contents of food and tracking to see how much of them I was eating, I went from over 300g of carbs a day to less than 20gr in less than a month by being more mindful and doing healthier swaps, my favorite app is called “carb manager app”
6. Spend more time in the kitchen. The truth is that wherever I go sugar is added to everything, even meat… so the more you eat at home, the cleaner, healthier, and more affordable your food will be.
7. Start cutting out sugary and starch heavy fruits and veggies. Focus on more fiber-rich veggies, or fruits with less sugar content like berries and add more greens to your life. Remember, it can be natural, but it eventually gets processed into sugars and then to fat in your body, but that doesn’t mean you cannot eat a few grapes if you are craving some.
8. Practice intermittent fasting. Most people tell me they snack more carby things through the day most of the time not out of hunger but desire. IF has shown incredible benefits to lower cravings and regulate blood sugar. Personally, I use to be a person who had to eat every 2 hours if I was awake, never in my life did I imagine IF would become my best friend to eliminate cravings and the desire to eat without being hungry.
9. Focus on nutrient-dense foods. Fats and protein are your best friends, thanks to them, we have evolved to be the healthy homo sapiens of today, proteins made our brains bigger and fats gave us the energy to hunt. Just as sugars, fats can also be converted to energy, a cleaner and more efficient source of energy for the human body called ketones. Now, there are organs in our brain that NEED glucose (sugar) to function, that is true, but thankfully we have an organ that can create the glucose your body needs, that is the liver and the process is called gluconeogenesis, and that is why our body has never needed extra sugar, we were made to create our own.
10. Learn how to choose your alcoholic drinks. Not all alcohol has sugar, actually drinks with over 70 proof are carb-free, like vodka, rum, tequila, or gin, all can be easily mixed with soda and a sugar-free mixer if you like something sweeter. Stay away from most beers, sweet wines and
I hope this tip is helpful to you and your health journey, a few side effects of cutting out carbs include a reduction of stored fats in the body, more muscle mass, fewer mood swings, adequate metabolic health. The first month is always the hardest since sugar can activate the same receptors cocaine does in our brain so a light abstinence syndrome is to be expected while sugar leaves your system, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and lots of sugary cravings, make sure to stay highly hydrated and to take electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium, there are plenty electrolyte replenishers in the market with amazing flavors so you will be looking forward to that.
I am an international medical doctor with a passion for functional medicine.
In my free time, I am a climber ??♀️ and a recipe developer because you can take care of your health and still eat delicious, indulgent and nutritious foods.