One of the great dilemmas for people wanting to lose weight, or to simply be healthy, is working out how to tell if you’re eating too many carbs.
Because, while he right carbs are healthy, too many carbs and/or the wrong type can cause you to gain weight that just won’t seem to budge.
And all of that is PRETTY confusing because there’s so much conflicting info out there.
In this article, I’ll then show you
- how to tell if you’re eating too many carbs,
- how this varies from person to person, and
- what to do to get your intake right.
Which ‘Carbs’ Are We Talking About Here?
For the purpose of this article, let’s say we’re talking about the ‘unhealthy’ versions of two major types of carbohydrates.
- Complex carbohydrates (the processed starchy versions) and
- Simple carbohydrates (added sugars)
Here’s an article that explains more about the three main types of carbs, including healthy and less healthy sources of carbohydrate.
And before I explain how to tell if you are eating too many carbs, I want to mention that hormones play a big part of this.
It’s All About Hormones
Most of the signs and symptoms I’m about to mention – the things that indicate you’re eating too many carbs – are caused by hormone imbalances, specifically, imbalances in insulin, leptin and/or cortisol.
- Insulin is the blood sugar/sweet cravings hormone.
- Leptin is the hunger hormone.
- Cortisol is one of the stress hormones.
How to Tell If You Are Eating Too Many Carbs
It’s simply a matter of listening to your body and keeping a close eye on what your body is telling you.
Eating too many carbs can trigger hormone imbalances, and I’ve listed the signs and symptoms below, in addition to some more general indicators that you are eating too many carbs.
How many signs and symptoms do you have, that indicate you are eating too many carbs?
The more of these signs and symptoms you have, and they worse they are, the more mindful you might need to be with your carb intake.
I haven’t mentioned stress hormones here, but if you’re chronically stressed, that plays havoc with your insulin levels, too (see more below).
3 Reasons Carb Intake Varies from Person to Person
There are a few different factors that affect how well your body manages carbohydrates – in terms of how much energy you need each day, and how well your body can balance it’s blood sugar reaction to carbs.
* men tend to have bigger bodies and more muscle mass than women – about 20% more – so their energy needs and carb tolerance tends to be a little better, generally speaking.
What To Do If You Are Eating Too Many Carbs
The way to tackle this is to eat and live in a way that regulates your hormones. Here is a simple three-step process that you can use to start reducing the signs and symptoms caused by eating too many carbs.
1. Make sure each meal has a handful (literally) of starchy, whole food carbs in it.
You need to eat some carbohydrates each day for energy, so make sure they come from whole foods. Starchy vegetables like sweet potato, cauliflower and eggplant are low-sugar, moderate starch foods that have little effect on your insulin levels.
2. Make sure each meal has some protein with it – 100g or a palm sized serve.
Getting a handful of healthy lean protein from legumes, tofu, fish, chicken and/or meat sources will help to release glucagon, which will help to regulate insulin and release stored body fat.
3. Eat up to two pieces of fruit per day and avoid dried fruit (or eat it rarely).
Choose fruits that are lower in sugar like berries and citrus.
4. Start to replace sugary drinks with plain water, plain soda water or herbal tea.
Drinks are a key source of unhealthy sugars.
5. If you are feeling bored, sad or overwhelmed, experiment with other means of support instead of sweets.
Getting out of the habit of turning to food could make a big difference to your life. Call a friend, go for a walk, read a book or distract yourself if you are seeking sweets due to stress, boredom, comfort or sadness.
6. Swap alcoholic drinks with non alcoholic drinks, and when drinking alcohol, choose low-sugar drinks.
If you are used to mixed drinks like cans of rum and cola, try swapping to rum with soda water and lime, with a pinch of stevia. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners as they can also cause problems with sugar cravings.
7. Avoid eating carbohydrate foods on their own.
Always add some lean protein or healthy fat to balance your blood sugar and improve satiety. For example, eat half a green pear with a slice of cheese, or half an apple with some almond butter.
It takes time to make these changes and it’s easiest to start with one thing at a time, and to master that over a few weeks before tackling the next thing.
Looking for a program to help you balance hormones and manage the stress, emotion and organisation challenges of healthy eating?
Contact us to find out if Downsize Me is right for you.
Chief Inspiration Coach
I'm a quirky scientist and a Health and Wellness Coach who helps 35+ women to understand and eat right for their body type.