Why You Need Carbs this Holiday Season
Earlier this month, I talked about how to manage stress nutritionally, and how to prevent hormone disruption related to chronic stress. If you didn’t catch that blog, go back and check it out, might be helpful to put today’s topic into context.
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Carbs have gotten a bad rap, I myself have struggled with how to fit them into a healthy diet, too!
Between the research, what I’ve found personally, and in working with clients, here’s what I know:
Carbs fuel exercise, especially short, fast bursts of movement like weight lifting and circuit training.
Carbs support muscle repair by supporting/replenishing glycogen stores (storage form of carbs) in muscles.
Carbs help to transport nutrients into muscles.
Fiber (found only in carbohydrate foods) promotes satiety and fullness.
Carbohydrates feed your gut bacteria.
The right carbs (unprocessed and higher in fiber) help balance blood sugar and prevent big swings in insulin and cortisol production.
So then why do excess carbs theoretically cause weight gain?
Well if I eat high-fat, high-carb meals daily and sit at a desk all day, I may not need all that “fuel,” so some of it will be shipped off to storage. The muscles and liver can store some carbohydrate (300-500g) for later, but then the rest gets converted to fat for longer-term storage.
So if you’re trying to lose weight and/or build muscle, yes protein is important, but it shouldn’t get all the credit. Combining carbs and protein reduces muscle breakdown and supports muscle synthesis better than a low-carb, high-protein diet.
Prioritize your carbs to avoid holiday fat gains!
If you’re trying to avoid holiday (fat) gains, prioritize your carbs. Alcohol is carbs. Sugar is carbs. White flour is carbs. Prioritize these which have little to no nutritional value anyway, and leave room for plenty of veggies, some fruit and potatoes, beans, and whole grains if you tolerate them.
Bottom line: Filling up on healthy carbs aka fiber will reduce cravings for unhealthy carbs.
If you have symptoms of cortisol imbalance (see my last post), eating healthy carbs (fruit and high-fiber veggies/grains) regularly through the day may help alleviate fatigue and brain fog.
Here are 3 practical tips:
Instead of counting carbs, count fiber. Aim for 40-60g per day, but increase slowly if you’re currently eating much less than this.
Include 50-75g additional carbs (mix of starch + fruit) on days with higher activity, especially resistance or weight training, centered mostly around (before and after) activity.
Use herbs like Berberine and cinnamon to reduce carb impact. These are NOT a replacement for a healthy diet, and will lose effectiveness if used daily. However, they are great for “surplus” or “cheat” days, or when you’re adding back carbs to the diet and blood sugar levels are unstable. My favorites are GDA-Max and GlucoSupreme.
Some Holiday Recipe Round-ups for you:
Health(ier) Holiday Desserts
Cleaned Up Holiday Appetizers
GLUCOSE METABOLISM SUPPORT
Improved Nutrient Partitioning*
Maintain & Restore Insulin Sensitivity*
Promotes Muscle Fullness*
GDA-MAX is the next level Glucose Disposal Agent to support natural weight management and optimal metabolic function. This product contains proven ingredients in therapeutic doses which may help you partition nutrients more effectively, nutritional support for insulin and glucose metabolism, boost your immune system, and reduce inflammation.
GlucoSupreme™ Herbal is ideal for supporting healthy insulin and glucose levels. This unique, synergistic formula combines standardized herbs and other botanicals that are shown to support healthy blood sugar through various mechanisms, including cinnamon, corosolic acid from banaba, isoflavones from kudzu, and ginsenosides from ginseng. It also contains berberine (Berberis aristata), a compound highly regarded for its efficacy in supporting healthy blood glucose regulation and insulin sensitivity.
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