FOUR REASONS WHY YOU NEED CARBS TO STOP BINGE EATING

“Carb” seems to be a four-letter word these days. With diets demonizing everything from cookies to fruit, it’s no wonder so many people fear the carb.


I don’t want you to fall for the pseudoscientific claims out there, so let me tell you why you need carbs and how carbs can help you stop binge eating.


Put simply, the more you restrict carbs, the worse your binge eating will become. Here are four reasons why:


1 | Carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which can then be used for immediate energy. Extra carbs can be stored in muscles as glycogen for later use, but the brain has no storage unit. Your brain alone requires a minimum of 120 grams of glucose every day. For reference, one slice of bread is 15 grams of carb, so as you can see that’s not nearly enough to get you through the day!


If you don’t have a consistent supply of glucose, the body will sense a threat to survival and gear up for a binge in the near future.


2 | Carbohydrates are a macronutrient. Your body needs carbohydrate foods in significant amounts to function optimally (protein and fat are the other two macronutrients).


Your body is resourceful, and when in a bind can make glucose from other sources besides carbs. However, this scenario is FAR from ideal. Without enough carbs, your body has to work harder to produce the same amount of energy, which will leave you feeling tired and depleted. Again, low energy is a survival threat, so your body will drive you to binge in order to ensure you get the energy you need.


The following foods are in the carb category:

  • Fruits & fruit juices

  • Vegetables & veggie juices

  • Grains

  • Dairy

  • Lentils

  • Beans

  • Sugar

Your body is resourceful, and when in a bind can make glucose from other sources besides carbs. However, this scenario is FAR from ideal. Without enough carbs, your body has to work harder to produce the same amount of energy, which will leave you feeling tired and depleted. Again, low energy is a survival threat, so your body will drive you to binge in order to ensure you get the energy you need.


3 | Restricting carbs increases cravings. When an intense craving hits, there is no way to willpower your way out of it. That’s because cravings are a sign your body needs something from you.


When the body senses a carb shortage, cravings will intensify. Daydreaming about sweets and feeling out of control around sugar are clues that you are not eating enough carbohydrates consistently. That’s because sugar, a simple carb, is easier for the body to convert into energy than other foods. So if your body senses a low energy supply, it wants you to go for the quick fuel. Again this is a survival tactic. The quicker the energy can be used, the more likely you are to survive. After a period of sugar restriction, the brain gets a big reward when you binge on it, as a way to make sure you don’t cut it out again. This is why sweets feel addicting when you’re on a diet.


When you start eating carbs more consistently, your body will stop fearing a shortage and cravings will be less intense. See step #4!


4 | Making peace with carbs decreases cravings. When you start making peace with food and give yourself permission to eat enough carbs, the drive to binge on them will dissipate. That’s because of a biological phenomenon known as habituation. When your body knows that carbs are consistently available, it will stop panicking around them and won’t try to make you eat them all at once.


When you start making peace with food, you may notice at first you crave and eat more carbs. This “honeymoon” phase is a NORMAL response to years of restriction. This phase is temporary and will pass! With time, your brain will get used to carbs and stop feeling so excited around them. Carbs will still taste good, but you will no longer feel controlled by them.


In summary, carbs are an important nutrient for your health and for breaking the diet binge cycle. Carb-rich foods not only have an abundance of nutrients in them, but they also are important for satisfaction. For optimal health, have your carbs and eat them too! : )


LISTEN NUTRITION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DESIGN BY CASSIE WARD.