Carbohydrates — they once rested at the bottom of the USDA’s food pyramid as the most essential item for daily intake. What’s more, they stayed there for many years — until, that is, dietary science took a good look at carbohydrates and asked whether they are really all that good for us. Ultimately, it was determined that carbs are good, but not in high amounts.
As a result, the USDA has revamped the pyramid by turning it into a plate that shows how much of each food group should be on your plate. But what’s being ignored here is the fact that carbs turn to glucose in the body, cause inflammation, and result in weight gain. Following are three benefits of cutting back on carbs and sugar to maintain a healthy weight.
Reduced Inflammation Lowers Disease Risk
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Inflammation is a culprit in a variety of diseases including atherosclerosis (heart disease) and arthritis. There’s a direct link between carbohydrates and inflammation, which shows up in the body over time.
Consuming a meal that’s high in carbs causes a high glycemic load on the body, which requires the overproduction of insulin to mop up the glycogen that’s produced during digestion. Insulin production then drops along with blood glucose levels and allows inflammation to occur. Lowering intake of carbohydrates through dietary changes, such as a ketogenic diet, helps to break the cycle of inflammation and lets the body heal itself.
Changing the diet from carbs first, protein last to one that’s high in protein and low in carbs puts the body into ketosis. Eating few carbs starves the body of glucose for energy and causes it to burn fat for energy. The body produces ketones via the liver as it metabolizes fatty acids for energy. Normally ketones are metabolized by the body and won’t show up on a test strip. When the body has little glucose for energy, the body goes into overdrive to burn fat for energy and produces an abundance of ketones that won’t get metabolized. During this state, it’s possible to test for ketones through test strips and monitor when the body goes in and out of ketosis. Using exogenous ketones also aids the body by reducing blood glucose and triggering the ketosis process.
It’s true that sugar provides energy, but the energy comes in a short burst and dies out quickly. The dreaded sugar crash happens within an hour or two of consumption, and hunger returns. Switching to a high-protein and high-fiber diet provides sustained energy throughout the day with no crashes. The body burns these foods more slowly, causes blood sugar to stabilize, and provides clean fuel that won’t readily store itself as fat.
The body does need some carbohydrates for it to function. What it doesn’t need is an excess of carbs. Reducing your carb intake in favor of protein produces multiple benefits while reducing or eliminating unwanted health problems and fat storage. Eating just enough of everything to get through the day is a winning strategy for life.