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  • Margaret Kavanagh Nutrition

The Truth About Carbs

There is a lot of carb shaming out there!! The truth is that not all carbs are created equal. You certainly don’t need to avoid carbs, but you may need to just think about the types of carbs you’re eating especially as you get older, if you have some weight to lose or are going through the hormonal changes of Peri or Menopause.


Let's firstly understand the different types of carbohydrates, which can be broken down into simple carbs and complex carbs.


Simple Carbs: In simple carbs, the sugar molecules that occur either naturally or as a result of added sugar are quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Examples of simple carbs are cakes, biscuits and pastries (in fact, anything with sugar), white bread, rice and pasta, and potato. The result is you get a short-term high but afterwards you feel more tired, fuzzy-headed and hungry…and these types of carbs cause weight gain and inflammation.

Complex carbs are made up of hundreds of sugar molecules, and these are absorbed much more slowly so they keep you feeling fuller for longer. Aim to add more of these into your diet ahead of simple carbs. They include wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice, oats, beans, chickpeas and lentils, quinoa, sweet potato and butternut squash.


Eating a variety of complex carbs is a core element of the Mediterranean diet style of eating, one of the most researched ways of eating for longevity and healthy ageing.

As mentioned above, complex carbs release sugars more slowing, meaning they are low GL (Glycaemic Load) which helps reduce insulin (=fat storage) and inflammation - two of the key issues facing women as they move through menopause.


However, eating low GL does not equate to cutting out carbs or even a low carb diet. What it does mean is switching away from white starchy carbs to wholegrains and grain alternatives that are higher in fibre, vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients required for good health.


Carbohydrates are needed for energy (really important if you want to exercise) and for your brain to think clearly and focus. So many of the women I work with complain of 'brain fog' and it's often one of the first things to improve as we start working together. Many times, these women just simply aren't fueling their body (or brain) with the right carbs and Omega 3 fats.


If you eliminate or restrict carbs, you are going to miss out on important fiber, antioxidants and the anti-inflammatory properties that you need as an active woman. Carb restriction also elevates your stress levels and increases your risk of iron deficiency and anemia.


Don't get me wrong, this is not an invitation to eat brown bread toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and brown pasta for dinner. Portion control per sitting is still really important.


A low GL diet is a key part of the Transform My Menopause 8 week weight loss programme. I bring you through the principles of a low GL diet and provide you with meal plans, recipes and all the support you need to hit your goals all in 60 days.

Click HERE to find out more.






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