- Carbohydrates fuel daily activity.
Our bodies rely on a combination of carbohydrates and fat for energy to fuel daily activities. As a result when carbs are limited excessively, you get really, really cranky. Carbohydrates are the brain’s number one energy source so cutting out carbs will zap your energy levels and leave you feeling fatigued. Also, because of the body burning other sources of energy (like muscle and fat; see below), and can have other unpleasant effects such as bad breath and headaches.
- Carbohydrates build muscle.
If your diet is too low in energy from restricting carbohydrates, the body will breakdown protein for energy in a process called gluconeogenesis. If the body is using protein for energy, the amino acids from these proteins cannot be used to build muscle (or support other functions like a healthy immune system). Thus carbs are needed in those who are training to gain muscle mass, in conjunction with protein.
- Fibre-rich carbohydrates are important for gut health.
Fruit, some vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and wholegrain starches like oats, wild rice, and wholewheat pasta are rich in fibre. Fibre acts like a broom and sweeps the gut clean that helps to manage constipation, haemorrhoids, and other intestinal problems. In particular, strong research has shown that a high fibre diet may reduce risk of colon cancer.
- Carbohydrates are rich in nutrients
Because of restricting fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains (all containing carbohydrate), the diet can be low in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. B-vitamins (thiamine, folate, niacin), vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium, among other nutrients, are all found in carbohydrate-rich foods.
- Low carbohydrate diets can get boring and overly restrictive.
As Dr David Katz says, associate professor of public health practice at the Yale University School of Medicine, “Everything from lentils to lollipops contain carbohydrates. Most foods contain carbohydrates so when carbs are restricted this decrease variety on the diet and may cause boredom and monotony in meals which may not be sustainable in the long run.