Forget what you heard. Carb confusion is a real problem that many people deal with daily. Nowadays, almost everyone will tell you that ‘carbs are bad,’ but is this true? Here, Brittany Ford, a registered holistic nutritionist and biohacker specializing in optimizing women’s health, shares with us her insight on why the C word (carbs) aren’t so bad after all.
Carbs are your new BFF
Embrace carbohydrates as your body’s essential fuel! When your body processes carbs, it converts them into glucose, providing the energy your cells require for optimal functioning. Staples like bread, pasta, and rice offer not only energy but also dietary fiber. Opt for whole food sources like yams, which boast higher fiber content along with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Research suggests that incorporating these wholesome carbohydrates into your diet may contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Use carbs to your advantage during your cycle
Menstruation unfolds in two primary phases: the follicular and luteal stages. The follicular phase, spanning from the onset of menstruation to ovulation, witnesses a surge in estrogen accompanied by sensations of low energy and fatigue. Increased insulin sensitivity prompts heightened carbohydrate consumption, particularly beneficial for vigorous exercises like HIIT (although it’s advisable to engage in such workouts post-menstruation).
Incorporating complex carbs into your diet contributes to elevated serotonin levels, the renowned “feel-good” hormone. This dietary choice not only enhances mood but also furnishes the necessary energy to navigate through the challenges of your period and its typically draining periods.
The subsequent luteal phase is characterized by declining estrogen levels, ushering in cravings and bloating. This phase entails diminished insulin sensitivity, posing a challenge in processing carbs for energy. To counteract this, prioritize consuming complex carbs earlier in the day, affording your body ample time to metabolize and utilize them before bedtime.
It’s WHEN you eat carbs that makes all the difference
Strategically timing carbohydrate intake can effectively prevent the storage of carbs as fat. For women in their fertile years aiming for optimal hormonal balance, focusing on consuming the majority of carbs in the morning and early afternoon is advised. This approach allows the body sufficient time to process carbs, converting them into energy rather than immediate fat storage.
Conversely, for women not in their fertile years or those less concerned about hormonal balance, incorporating most carbs in the evening offers several benefits. This practice sustains the body in a state of fatty acid oxidation throughout the day, akin to a mild state of ketosis. While this state has numerous advantages, caution is warranted as excessive stress on the body can result if overdone.
Tailor your carb intake timing to align with your health goals, whether that involves detoxing, hormonal balance, weight loss, or other objectives. Opt for healthy carb sources such as yams, rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, amaranth, and millet most of the time, and complement your dietary choices with daily exercise to support effective metabolism and utilization of carbs as fuel.
Brittany Ford is a registered holistic nutritionist and biohacker specializing in optimizing women’s health so that we can thrive, not just survive. She shares her knowledge and experience on her podcast, Biohacking with Brittany.